Do you know who the most successful businessperson of all time is? No, silly, not Donald Trump. The answer, obviously, is Santa Claus. Santa, Father Christmas, Chris Cringle.
Whatever you like to call him, the fact remains that Santa is the original O.G. The single greatest entrepreneurial mind ever to grace Planet Earth.* Why? We’re about to explain, and maybe you’ll pick up some neat career tips on the ride.
*We at Debut will not accept any conjecture implying the non-existence of Santa Claus. Don’t be a Scrooge.
Brand recognition is key
Santa knows when you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. You know that because there are a hundred million songs out there about how he’s coming to town, coming down the chimney, kissing your mother etc. You can spot his red coat and bushy beard a mile away and he’s been played by more actors than you can shake a candy cane at. That, friends, is spot-on branding.
Career lesson: We feel like we say this a lot, but personal branding is everything. Get your face out there, make sure everyone knows you’re good at what you do, and explore different forms of media to expand your presence.
Sponsorship goes a long way
Santa knows all about the merits of cold hard cash and he’s not above doing a little shilling. He’s been a brand ambassador for Coca Cola for more than 80 years and he’s also appeared in a few adverts for M&Ms.
Career lesson: Sponsorship deals might be a bit advanced for you at this stage but definitely link up with people that have similar brands to yours. Big each other up, share each others’ content and it’ll be beneficial to all of you.
Be fair to your workers
As Will Ferrell so helpfully demonstrates here, elves love Santa. And it’s easy to see why, he’s a great boss. All they have to do is work a few intense shifts around December and they get all the perks of working in the North Pole – one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Plus, they get to keep the awesome uniforms.
Career lesson: If you go on to employ people, make sure you’re treating them right. They’re the glue that hold your operation together. Give them perks, listen to their concerns and tell them when they’ve done well. Oh, and definitely pay them fairly.
Charity is super important
For all his business acumen, Santa is of course a well-known philanthropist. His industry has provided income and care for the elf community for years and he has rescued countless reindeer. Not only that, but he gives out all of his product for free and has made thousands of voluntary appearances at shopping malls and children’s hospitals around the world.
Career lesson: Don’t sniff at the idea of charity. Corporate responsibility and sustainability is a huge part of business these days and volunteering can reveal talents you didn’t know you had.
Speed is of the essence
Delivering presents to the world’s 3 billion children takes ruthless efficiency and no-one’s more aware of this than Santa. To do this, The Telegraph reckons his sleigh would have to travel at roughly 1800 miles per second, which is about 8 and a half thousand times the speed of sound. That’s probably why you’ve never seen him on Christmas Eve.
Career lesson: Efficiency and innovation is crucial to anything you do. It’s easy to miss a window of opportunity. And let’s not pretend that Santa’s amazing feat would be possible without state-of-the-art technology. Make sure you keep up with the latest news on that side – you might just be able to open a window for yourself.
Take advantage of untapped markets
If it’s true that Santa delivers to every child on earth, then he’s definitely treading on some trade ground that hasn’t been touched yet. Just shows what a humanitarian he is – I don’t see anyone else delivering presents to Middle Eastern children, do you?
Career lesson: Every conference and contact will turn out to be useful to you at some point. The trick is being able to spot an opportunity that no-one else would take. It could be that all important one.
Have a holiday every now and then
As hard as he works, Santa realises the importance of taking a break. Ever seen a portly bearded man poolside in a resort in the Bahamas 11 months out of the year? Yup, that’s him.
Career lesson: Absolutely don’t work yourself into the ground! Sometimes your job can consume you. It’s important to keep some of that energy you invest in it for yourself. Maybe even a side-hustle or two.
Always be positive
The best thing about Santa Claus by far is his indomitable spirit. No matter how bad the world gets, no matter how brutal humanity is to one another, no matter how often we lose our smiles, he come every year to replace them.
Career lesson: When things don’t work out, don’t get discouraged. Try different routes, keep your head up and do what you do best. Merry Christmas, everyone!