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Which Hallmark movie do you need to watch?

Every year, about 80 million viewers tune in to The Hallmark Channel during the holiday season to catch one (or all) of their dozens of original Christmas movies. These holiday staples, which often feature an aspiring entrepreneur or a struggling small business, are jam-packed with inspiring messages and leave viewers with the gift of perfectly wrapped happy endings.

In addition to dispensing life lessons, Hallmark Christmas movies are also a surprising source of business lessons that every entrepreneur can apply to their journey. Here are 15 business lessons from Hallmark Christmas movies that might help your business thrive.

Remembering your ‘why’ is key to a growing and thriving business (Christmas CEO)

As her toy company, CJ Toys, grew and grew, Christmas “Chris” Whitaker gradually begins to lose sight of her long-standing love of toy-making — which stemmed from her adolescent years selling toys at a holiday toy stand with her best friend, Joe.

When she and Joe started CJ Toys together, it was out of that shared passion. However, as Chris escalates the business by focusing more on profits and a potential merger with a large toy conglomerate, Joe steps back, not wanting to sacrifice the uniqueness and quality that sparked their entrepreneurial journey.

When Chris needs Joe to sign off on the merger, she is soon reminded of their “why”: why they started their business, what their mission is, and how to return to it.

There’s a lot that goes into selling your business (Gingerbread Miracle)

When freelance attorney Maya moves back to her hometown after a setback with work, she begins spending a lot of time at the Casillas Panadería, the local Mexican bakery she used to work at in high school. When the owner of the bakery — who is also the uncle of her high school crush, Alex — decides he’s ready to sell the business, he asks Maya to help him find a buyer.

Alex returns home once he hears of his uncle’s decision, and romantic entanglements ensue between Alex, Maya, and a potential buyer for the bakery. However, in true fashion, the movie closes with each party getting their happy ending.

Selling a business can be bittersweet. If you’re ready for your next chapter, here are our tips on preparing a business for sale and how to create an exit plan.

Partnerships aren’t always easy, but sometimes they’re worth the effort (Best Christmas Party Ever)

After finding out that her boss, Petra, is retiring, party planner Jennie Stanton hopes she will be left in charge of Petra’s party planning business. But when Petra’s charming and handsome nephew, Nick, arrives on the scene to take over the business, it looks like that dream is dead. That is until Jenny discovers how well she and Nick work together and she faces losing him to a career in acting.

As Jenny learns, partnerships aren’t always smooth and it’s tempting to want to do everything yourself. But partnerships also allow you to leverage the strengths of both partners.

Is a partnership right for your business? Read our article on the pros and cons of having a business partner.

Employees are your most valuable asset (Christmas Cookies)

When his cookie factory is sold to a large conglomerate, Jake is pressured to sell his share so the company can be relocated to a bigger city. Hannah is sent to complete the deal, but after meeting Jake and realizing how important the factory is to the town, Hannah decides its employees are more important than profits.

Hannah learns that the real heart of any company is its employees. To make sure you retain your best asset, read our article on the best employee retention tactics.

Sometimes saving a business takes a village (Christmas Land)

Upon finding out that her late grandmother left her “Christmas Land,” a magical Christmas-themed village and tree farm, Jules Cooper finds herself at a crossroads: Should she sell Christmas Land and get back to her life in the city or stick around and restore it to the captivating potential it once had?

Jules decides to make a sale — to a buyer she thought would keep the village alive in its current form — only to find out that he has plans to raze the land entirely. In order to buy it back, she needs to raise over $1 million so the buyer can turn a profit. With one investor and the help of the entire town, she is able to raise the money that the business needs to be bought back and kept alive.

With a few obstacles, Jules learns various ways to raise capital in order to keep the business afloat. If your business is in need of funding, read more here to help decide the best way to do it.

At the heart of these Hallmark Christmas movies is a struggling small business.

Buying an existing business can be challenging (Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa)

Retail designer Lisa revisits her hometown and discovers that the beloved general store she remembers from her childhood has closed. After attempting to sell the store, Lisa decides to buy the store and relocate back to her childhood home. Starting a business is tough, but Lisa learns that buying an existing one comes with challenges, too.

For more on how to purchase an existing business, check out our guide on financing the purchase of an existing business.

Nobody knows your business better than your employees (Christmas in Love)

Ellie Hartman is an aspiring crafter working in her small town’s bakery. When big-city CEO Nick Carlingson visits the bakery with plans to modernize it, Ellie shows him it’s the people who make the business a success.

As Ellie proves, your employees are often your most avid supporters, so it’s essential to hire the right ones from the beginning. Here are five tips on how to hire the best employees.

Learn from your competition (Check Inn to Christmas)

Julia Crawley is planning her annual return home for the holidays — from the Big Apple to her hometown in Colorado, where her family owns and runs an inn. Being only one of two inns in town, the Crawley Inn finds itself constantly in competition with the town’s other inn, which is owned by the Mason family.

When they’re faced with a large real estate company looking to buy the Mason Inn, Crawley and Ryan Mason — the Masons’ son and manager of the inn (and her budding love interest) — devise a plan that will prevent the sale, save the Mason Inn, and grow both inns together.

If you’re finding your business in a competitive situation within your industry, sans the budding romance and holiday magic, read more here about how to conduct competitive research and learn from your competition.

Outside funding can save a business, but it comes with challenges (Merry & Bright)

Cate Merriweather is finding out the hard way that seasonal businesses present challenges for profitability year-round, as she runs Merry & Bright, a family owned and operated candy cane factory. That’s when Gabe Carter enters the picture — Gabe is a consultant with a corporate recovery firm who is assigned to get to know Merry & Bright and figure out a way to fix the business’s situation.

This leads to Gabe finding a large investment company to provide funding — which sounds great in theory, until Cate realizes that she has to give up some of her power. She’s then faced with the struggle of changing her family’s traditional business for the sake of keeping it alive.

If your small business is struggling, or if you are looking to outside funding to help get you to the next level, here is what you need to know about venture capital.

To grow, your business may have to evolve (Marry Me at Christmas)

Maddie and Isabel, the co-owners of Paper Moon Bridal, are facing the possibility of going out of business when a new customer, Ginger, asks Maddie to try her hand at wedding planning. After accepting, Maddie and Ginger become fast friends and the wedding is a huge success. The two work together to grow and expand their business.

For more inspiration on how to grow your business, here is some advice from entrepreneurs who’ve done it.

 Letters to Santa Movie Still

For entrepreneurial spirits having trouble finding their niche, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa shows that business opportunities can pop up when they’re least expected. — Photo Credit: ©2018 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Owen Strongman

Identify a need and market it to your targeted audience (Holiday Hotline)

Abby, a sous-chef from a top restaurant in London, heads to the U.S. for the holidays after being burned by her boyfriend/boss. Though Abby says she’s sworn off cooking, a neighbor convinces her to work at the Holiday Hotline — a call center of “poultry professionals” who help talk through the stressors of cooking a turkey for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Taking on an American accent and calling herself “Peggy,” Abby creates a bond with a caller that eventually leads her to find love in and out of the kitchen again.

Like the Holiday Hotline, anything can be a service if you know how to market it — and whom to market it to. Check out these marketing resources, including strategies from social media to advertising, to help advertise your small business successfully.

Remember, the hard times your business goes through become an important part of its history (The Christmas Ring)

A reporter named Kendra finds an antique engagement ring in a pawn shop with the engraving “My Christmas Love 1948.” Intrigued by its unique message and looking to advance her career, Kendra decides to track down the love story behind the ring. Her investigation uncovers the story of how Pearl, the ring’s original owner, sold her engagement ring to save her family’s general store — the same general store her grandsons own today. After a misunderstanding between Kendra and Pearl’s grandson Michael, Kendra writes an emotional article that eventually brings the pair together.

Like Pearl, small business owners often go through hard times and need money to keep the business afloat. Rather than selling off personal assets, check out this article about secured versus unsecured business loans.

Follow your passion (Cranberry Christmas)

Separated couple Dawn and Gabe find their cranberry farm at the center of national television, so they pretend to be a happily married couple to save their town’s Christmas festival. As they navigate the demands of the TV appearance and the presence of the celebrity host who is staying in their home, the pair eventually discuss their unresolved issues and the lost career aspirations that led to their separation. Ultimately, the town’s Christmas festival is saved and so is Dawn and Gabe’s marriage, despite their career opportunities taking them in different directions.

When you are unsure if you should take a leap of faith in your career and follow your passion, this guide provides a way you can bet on yourself and your business.

Without opportunities to advance, good employees will leave (Campfire Christmas)

“Campfire Christmas” follows Peyton, an aspiring writer working as an assistant at a publishing company. Peyton’s parents, who run a camp from her youth called Camp Evergreen, tell her they are retiring and ask her to take over the business.

Peyton is inspired to write a book about Camp Evergreen’s “Christmas in July” tradition and pitches it to her boss, who loves the idea but would rather have someone else write Peyton’s story. Peyton later finds out her boss didn’t want her to write her story because she didn’t want to lose Peyton as an assistant. Without the opportunity to advance, Peyton ultimately quits and pursues her dreams of being a writer.

Here is a list of the top reasons why good employees quit.

You may need to get creative to find funding for your business (The Sweetest Christmas)

Kylie, a talented baker, dreams of opening her own bakery. As Kylie prepares for a Christmas gingerbread house competition with a large cash prize, she reconnects with her high school sweetheart, Nick. Their bond grows stronger, and old feelings resurface as they work together to try and win the competition. However, conflict quickly ensues when Kylie faces pressure from a celebrity chef and a proposal from an ex-boyfriend. Kylie eventually finds a way to express her true feelings and win both the gingerbread competition and Nick’s heart.

Although Kylie was lucky enough to win the big cash prize during the gingerbread house competition, most entrepreneurs can’t rely on competitions to fund their fledgling businesses. Instead, see how you can start a business on a budget.

This story was originally written by Ciara Larkin and Jeanette Mulvey.

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