This is the best of times and the worst times when it comes to managing your business.
Very Charles Dickens.
Rapid fire holidays means lots of opportunities to get out from behind your computer or office and have a little fun. But it also means that everyone else is doing it too and, if you are running or growing a business it can be challenging. Challenging to get a hold of clients, get invoices paid, and even deliver your products. This post has 5 tips to keep your business focused this holiday season. You can be sure that I’m doing these since I plan on power-eating my way through the end of this Thanksgiving week.
1. Get aggressive with your systems.
If you’ve been lax on your follow up now’s the time to tighten up. Especially if you are looking to get paid on your outstanding invoices. I use Freshbooks and it’s a huge help to send gentle pokes out reminding clients that they need to cut those checks before they sneak out of their offices. Stick to your checklists, schedules, and planned times as well. The more deliberate you are with how your time is allocated for meetings, etc the more efficient you will be with that time.
2. Get festive!
A few decorations can help go a long way with your productivity. Even some minor holiday trinkets can be just enough to satisfy those impulses to go out and enjoy the season. A little color and change can help keep you focused and foster an environment you aren’t racing to leave every day. It can also help to get you and your team re-engaged as the act of decorating can be a community building activity. Holiday’s can be a great opportunity to add a little depth to the relationships you are building professionally as well - so be sensitive to the diversity of your crowd but don’t be shy!
3. New projects.
While lots of businesses are sprinting towards the year end there is always the chance of burning out the teams that support you (or even yourself). So use the next few weeks to plan, execute, and evaluate a new project. Not to add extra work but to keep you motivated. If there has been something you’ve been putting off nows the time. Between trying to get a hold of people and your own delivery you may have some extra time. Use it to add value. By the end of the year you will have something completed and can use that momentum to ring in 2013...along with all the housekeeping that goes into sweeping up 2012.
4. Manage expectations.
Benchmarks and goals are great but they have to be achievable to make the most impact. If you are coming on the the year end and you are grossly underperforming in any of the goals you set for your business it’s time to re-evaluate. Actually that’s what your quarterly check-ins should be used for but we all get “busy” sometimes. So plan for the rest of this year from today. What can you and your business do today to finish the year strong. Re-evaluations don’t have to be a bad thing and can recharge your business and your team. Then at the end of the year/beginning of next year use what you’ve actually done to forecast for next year. Please please please don’t just marginally increase your goals by some arbitrary or even industry stated percentage. Create goals that are lofty but not such that you become inactive all together just incase you miss a benchmark or two. Remember reaching goals creates momentum and that’s what keeps you moving forward.
5. Use motion.
Move around. Stand up while you work. Creating motion and movement during your day can really help keep you focused. It’s the long periods of sitting or solitude that really do us in during this time of year. If you are a solopreneur invite someone to just share some space and that will help foster that movement. Take breaks often but plan them strategically - use them as a reward for instance - and move around. Movement gets different parts of your brain firing, oxygen rich blood flowing and delivering glycogen to the brain which can be great for critical thinking. Plus you never know where you might find some inspiration!
I hope this list helps keep you focused as you are trying to finish out the year strong. The worst thing you can do is just throw your hands up and do nothing because that’s what you expect everyone else to be doing. I won’t be doing that and I’m one of the everyone. I plan on using this time to keep growing, keep networking, and build some steam so when the first Monday comes in 2018 I’ll be well on my way to making it my best year yet.
If you have any tips that help keep you motivated around this time of year I would love to hear them! Please feel free to leave your comments below :)