By Karen Axelton

photo partyHere’s a smart idea for small businesses on a budget this holiday season. The New York Times reports that some event and catering companies, in an effort to attract clients in a tough year, are hosting holiday parties that are open to all kinds of small and midsized businesses.

Attending a “group” holiday party with other businesses enables them to give their employees and clients a festive celebration—even if they can’t afford to rent out a hotel ballroom or room in a restaurant themselves.

The Times notes another side benefit of attending holiday parties with other business owners: You get the chance to network and potentially meet new clients in a relaxed atmosphere, as well as celebrating with your current clients.

With this type of event, typically the per-person cost of attending decreases the more people sign up. And for the companies that provide food, entertainment such as music or DJ services, and other services for the events, it’s a chance for them to earn new clients as well.

I think this is a pretty smart idea.