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What Small Businesses Can Learn From Santa

He stays positive.
In The Night Before Christmas, Santa is described as "a right jolly old elf." Good-natured cheer is a key part of the Santa brand. Yes, he may be run ragged by mid-December, but he never lets the stress show. Not only does that confidence inspire trust from the public, his can-do spirit motivates his team to slog through the final rush of toymaking. Ever heard of the elves going on strike? Santa must be doing something right to keep them working productively in the run-up to Christmas.

He doesn't overpay for real estate.
Santa must have cash-flow problems -- giving away all those toys for free isn't really a sustainable business model. But he knows how to cut costs where it counts. Real estate is a bargain in the weather-challenged North Pole, and that's just the way Santa likes it.

For some small businesses, location and decor are competitive advantages (think spas and restaurants). But if you're working on a more artisanal model -- like Santa -- getting the job done is more important than dazzling your customers. While exact details of Santa's workshop headquarters are sketchy, storing all those toys must require a lot of warehouse space. By building where land was cheap, Santa kept his fixed costs to a minimum.

While it may be impossible for any company to replicate Santa's business model, we can all be inspired by his sheer staying power. After all, this is a guy whose brand has stayed relevant for hundreds of years. He must be doing something right.

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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
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