The Greatest Business Man
By Krysta Rehaag
It's that time of the year again members, guests, and Sir Toastmaster. The time when the streets sparkle with lights, familiar carols hit your ears wherever you go, and the air feels like magic. It really gets me thinking. About the business behind the holidays.
Christmas is one of the most profitable times for companies. Each year, a few companies will rise to the top. Who do you think will be most successful this season? I am going to propose to you that the real winner every year is the greatest businessman in history – Santa Claus.
Mr. Kringle excels like no other in the fundamentals of business: marketing, operations, and finance.
Let's talk about marketing.
Think to yourself, what is the world's most successful marketing campaign? Santa Claus - a brand that defines the holidays.
Santa Claus was the original viral marketer. He's set up displays in malls, plastered himself on greeting cards, imprinted himself on Coke cans and got starring roles in books, TV commercials, and Hollywood movies. In order to achieve a global reach, he has even changed his name to suit different cultures – he's known in Spain as Papa Noel and in Germany as Weihnachtsmann (vie-knocts-mann). No matter the name, Santa Claus has branded himself the face of Christmas.
Everyone in the world recognizes Santa Claus. He is a larger celebrity than anyone in Hollywood and is known as a jolly kindly old man. Think about it – there is no other person parents would allow into their homes at night while their children lay sleeping in the next room. In fact, in all of history he has only had one scandal where it was rumoured he kissed someone's mom. Still, St. Nick was able to recover from that embarrassing incident and continues to be the most beloved businessman today. There is no Occupy North Pole movement!
Not only is Santa Claus a genius marketer, he is also an extremely organized manager of operations.
Just imagine the scale of Santa's operations – he has to produce toys for all the children in the world. For this Christmas, that means making toys for 1.8 billion children. And not just the same type of toys too which means different suppliers, different machinery, and different labour skills required. When I think about what kind of enterprise management system and the supply chain required for this operation, the accountant in me gets excited.
It must be very stressful to work in such a complex and deadline-driven environment. You probably know how hard it is to manage 1-2 people. Santa Claus has to manage thousands of elves. That Santa Claus is able to motivate his work force, especially considering that the North Pole only has sunlight for 6 months of the year, speaks volumes of his leadership abilities.
While having the most complex business in the world is impressive, let's talk about the most important thing in business. Money.
Santa Claus isn't an incorporated public company, so one can only speculate about his finances. However, no business can continue to operate at a loss. What are some of the ways Santa Claus could be earning a profit? Well, all that free advertising must help! Perhaps Santa Claus has copyrighted his image and earns royalties every time he appears on a television commercial. Given all the accusations of breaking & entering, I myself suspect something more sinister. I believe that Santa is getting kickbacks from cookie factories and dairy farmers. Think about all those milk & cookies being purchased for Santa Claus from 1.8 billion children. And what does Santa Claus need with all that food in one night? I'm sure Santa Claus chooses the best milk & cookies for himself, organic of course, and uses the rest to feed his elf employees. There is no record of Santa Claus paying his elf employees, therefore all those milk & cookies must be how Santa Claus gets free labour. And speaking about free, Santa Claus doesn't pay any taxes. Since no country owns the North Pole, it's the ultimate tax haven!
Steve Jobs was named the CEO of the decade by Fortune magazine and was the image of Apple. Santa Claus is arguably the CEO of the millennium and is the image of Christmas. Walmart is well known for their supply chain management and extensive selection of toys. However Walmart only operates in 19 countries. Santa Claus is responsible for supplying toys to children everywhere. Warren Buffet is famous for how little taxes he pays on his vast net worth. In 2006, he paid 19% of his income in taxes or $48M. That same year, Santa Claus paid zilch. Santa Claus succeeds at marketing, operations, and finance. There is no doubt in my mind, Santa Claus is the world's greatest businessman.
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