Industry Insights

8 small business owners tell us what they would do if Santa Claus gave them £5,000

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Lyzi Unwin
Content Producer
Fervent blogger sharing signature Studio Cotton advice & small business stories
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I know as well as the next guy that money is tight for most people right now, but what if it wasn’t? What would you do with a surprise lump sum for your small business?

We are nosy ol’ daydreamers, so we decided to ask small business experts one big question: Tomorrow, Santa is dropping £5,000 in your small business bank account – what are you going to spend it on?

Of course, there are conditions:

  • You must spend it all within 7 days, or Santa takes it back
  • You can’t spend it on wages, but you can use it to purchase defined services/packages
  • All of your favourite suppliers have availability to confirm your purchase(s) within the deadline
  • And it’s totes ok if those services are delivered after the deadline, you just need to pay now to avoid that pesky Santa
  • You can’t use your lump sum for anything you’re currently doing or have planned
  • It must be spent on something real that you could send to your accountant as a genuine business expense
  • You can spend it on multiple items/services

Small business experts always give their clients advice on the best way to spend their money, but we didn’t want that info or even how to get the best ROI from Santa’s lump sum, we just wanted to know how they would treat themselves and their small businesses.


1. Retail expert Catherine would update her tech and plan a brilliant book launch

1. A better laptop, so I don’t always have to be at my desk.
2. Full PR support for my upcoming book launch, PLUS a fabulous launch party venue, so I can be sure that it goes off with a bang.

Some great choices there from Catherine, and she clearly knows what she wants. That book launch sounds like a lot of fun – what a wonderful thing to celebrate. Please can we come?

Catherine Erdly lives in London and runs The Resilient Retail Club, helping retail businesses grow their sales and supporting them to create a lasting business. You can pre-order her book now – Tame Your Tiger: How to stop your product business eating you alive – and you’ll get it at the end of February.




2. Small business photographer Georgia would spend half on new equipment and half on props

I’d spend half of it on sort of ‘good investment’ type things: a new lens at £800, a new flash and softbox at around £1,700. Half of it gone on those things you never see, but are used to create the photos!

Now for the fun part. I’d go to town buying handmade/small business ceramics, glassware, linens, wall art and furniture to stock up my prop cupboard: £1.5k.

I’d also get a plant based small business to hit me up with some epic plants on a regular basis: £500 for the year. I’d get an epic neon light just for fun: £200. Surround-sound speakers to entertain me whilst shooting: £300.

I love that Georgia has certainly done the maths here on how she’d spend £5k, and it sounds like a dream to spend lots of money on beautiful things from small businesses to use as props. If only.

Talented photographer Georgia de Lotz takes all of the lovely photos you see here on our website and across our social media too. Most of the time though, she’s product photographer, social media manager and content creator working with brands in Bristol and across the UK.




3. Copywriter Bonnie would have a makeover, a photoshoot and a small business party

Once I’d stopped running around shouting “£5000!” I’d book a brand photography session. My clothes are pretty meh so I’d need some new outfits from independent designers, and I’d get my hair and nails done. Since the photos will show me ‘at work,’ I’d buy loads of new stationery in my brand colours.

I’ve already got a lovely new website (thanks Studio Cotton), and a new phone (thanks phone insurance), there’s nothing else I need to invest in this Christmas.

With the remaining cash I’d host a small business Christmas party in Bristol. Fizz, canapes, networking, and celebrating the end of the year.

Ok Bonnie, I am seriously wishing that you get £5,000 because not only do I want to see you swishing around in your new outfit, I want to go to your party too, despite not being a fan of networking.

Bonnie Harrington from Words by Bonnie is a really great Bristol based copywriter, working with small-medium sized lovely businesses. She does all sorts of word-related stuff, from supporting you to write your own content, to taking all of the words off your plate and writing them for you.




4. Ecommerce mentor Jo would give her home office a swanky spruce-up

I’m going to invest in my home office! Better tech (top of my list is ReMarkable to achieve that elusive paperless office feel) the best office chair I can find that doesn’t have flat foam like my current one, a desk that goes up and down with my mood and all the Firain-branded stationery I can design within 7 days.

I strongly don’t believe in Santa, but I strongly do believe that our environments impact our work, and are worth the investment.

You’re so right, Jo – environments really do impact our work. It’s much easier to get the job done when you feel comfy and you’re in lovely surroundings.

Jo McCarthy lives in Wales and provides mentoring to creatives who want to open and grow online shops with workshops and one-to-one help. She also offers some great free downloadable resources – what a clever and generous person.




5. Graphic designer & podcaster Liz would nurture community and support small businesses

One of the things that I would love to do more in my business is nurture community and support small businesses, so I’d use the money to host a live event for my podcast Building your Brand.

I would hire caterers, rent a beautiful space, create amazing goodie bags and I’d live record mini episodes with three guests and then about 50 ‘friends of the podcast’ come along for a really fun and inspiring event.

I’d also hire a photographer and videographer so I could make content for You Tube and social media, and so people who missed it can watch the episodes.

Well isn’t that just lovely. I think all small businesses could benefit from a little nuturing, and Liz’s event sounds like a brilliant idea.

Graphic designer Liz Mosley works with small businesses, helping them to define and create their branding, makes amazing GIFs, and she has a super helpful podcast too called Building Your Brand – is there anything she can’t do?


Liz Mosley Design
Photo by Marie Palbom



6. PR & marketing expert Lucy would save herself time with practical services

What I need is time, and since it’s not possible to literally buy time, I would buy services to save myself time. So someone to do my bookkeeping, another to do my Instagram, another to do my blogging… and so on.

Wouldn’t it just be incredible if you could buy time? I’m trying not to fully immerse myself in the daydream of being able to finish all the projects I start and abandon, while also catching up on the trashy reality TV shows I love so much. Lucy has the right idea – outsourcing!

Lucy Meek is a PR and marketing whizz, working exclusively with indie ecommerce stores. She loves to see small businesses thrive, and has been helping them do that since 2012, so she really knows her onions.




7. Lifestyle photographer Weronika would invest in a photography equipment upgrade

Photography equipment – I’d spend that nice chunk of money on upgrading my camera, lenses, lighting… the list really goes on!

Having great gear is the absolute foundation of my job, but I still find it difficult to justify spending thousands of pounds on a camera – it just feels like a ridiculous amount.

Being able to upgrade my tools means that I can do my job more efficiently and I can improve the quality of my images, so my clients receive the absolute best of the best.

Buying new professional photography equipment is an investment, but one which would pay off. Weronika’s photos are already absolutely gorgeous though, so it’s hard for me to imagine how much better they could be.

Weronika Karczewska is a product and lifestyle photographer working mainly with sustainable and creative businesses. Her photos are so beautifully fresh and minimal – she styles them to perfection so that the products are always the star of the show.




8. Copywriting coach Victoria would brush up on her skills & get new imagery

Anything you can learn about business (or yourself) is a game changer. I’d do more training with Copy Hackers – £1000. I’d also love to improve my public speaking skills with a coach – £500.

Branding photos – cost £1000. I’d also get a WordPress expert to take a look at my website, £1000.

I’d love to join another mastermind. The most rewarding ones are when you feel a bit uncomfortable. Cost £1000.

For a bit of fun, I’d spend £500 paying an illustrator to come up with some designs I could use on some merchandise – some fun motivational stationery or products for small business owners.

Well, here’s someone who really knows what they want, and I totally admire that. Tell you what Victoria, you’ve inspired me to look into some courses in the new year to brush up my own skills!

Victoria Brown is a marketing genius, offering courses, coaching and absolutely loads of useful resources. She also has a podcast called Creative Slurp, sharing loads of helpful creative business advice, alongside some brilliant guests.




Sadly, this £5,000 is just a dream, but we so wish we could conjure up some kind of Christmas miracle to give all these small businesses (and the rest of you reading) the money they need.

While we’re thinking about spending money, you might be interested in Aime’s previous blog post – The three best investments I have made in my small business.

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