As soon as Thanksgiving is over, many business owners slow down to a crawl, maintaining the bare minimum to keep things humming along until the New Year. But if you ask me, the holidays open up some quality time to evaluate your business and set yourself up for a successful first quarter.
I’ve picked out 10 things you can do to help your business during this slow period. Don’t worry — if you decide to do just one so you can focus on your family this year, you’ll still be one step ahead when you ring in the new year.
1. Evaluate your virtual team and make changes if necessary.
Are administrative tasks taking up most of your time and keeping you from working ON your business? Then hire a virtual assistant. Are you paying too much in taxes? Meet with your accountant to talk about getting more aggressive with write-offs. Remember your virtual team can include payroll processors, lawyers, and Excel wizards — anyone who can lighten your workload, so you can focus on big-picture strategizing.
2. Learn how to get more business via your Web site.
Would you like to generate business leads and sales 24-7? Then look at how your Web site could be working better for you. Scope out some new websites that specialize in writing copy that sells. Or, do a Google search for free reports on hot topics like traffic generation, list building, and social media.
3. Revamp your ezine or launch an ezine.
Remember that having a ready list of warm prospects is your goldmine, and having an ezine positions you for more sales on a regular basis and for the LONG-TERM. The beginning of the New Year is the perfect time to release your first issue!
4. Clean out that e-mail inbox once and for all!
Unanswered e-mails, people to follow up with, information not recorded or filed in the proper places — when does it end? Vow to get a handle on your inbox. Delete e-mails that are more than a few months old. Set up e-mail folders to help you stay more organized in the future. And if your program allows, set “rules” to automatically sort incoming e-mails into those folders.
5. Clean out your filing cabinet, bookshelf, desk, etc.
Is your office a fire hazard? Will your spouse not even enter the premises? Put on some good music, start digging, and make piles. Make sure to have plenty of trash bags and cardboard file boxes on hand. (And a good glass of wine always makes it more fun!)
6. Upgrade or clean up your computer.
Your computer probably holds most of the information that’s crucial to your business, so take care of it! Upgrade your operating system (do you STILL have Windows 95?), get rid of unnecessary files, archive old files to an external hard drive, add more disk space for all those downloads, and do system maintenance. Not sure how to go about this? Find a geek-for-hire to come and help you out.
7. Let your clients know how much you are thankful for their business.
Whether you choose to send holiday cards or thank-you notes, this is a good practice for both your business and you. Letting the universe know you’re grateful for what you have will only bring you better things in the future.
8. Plan an upcoming teleseminar.
For a quick cash-flow boost, plan a paid teleseminar! Phone-based events are easy to do and can be very effective income generators. Either host it yourself on a topic you’re qualified to talk about, or invite a special guest to interview. To encourage holiday signups, offer special pricing for those who register before the New Year.
9. Write down your 25 best accomplishments for this past year.
This simple exercise is extremely powerful. I start by lighting a candle and writing down my 25 accomplishments. Then, taking each one in, I read them aloud. After the last one, I blow the candle out, and then IMMEDIATELY make a list of 10 goals for the New Year. (After truly acknowledging all the amazing things you did this year, you’ll feel incredibly powerful and set even higher goals!)
10. Actually enjoy the holidays!
In the past, I ran around like a nut every December, and the next year would always hit me before I could even blink. I’d be back to the grind shortly thereafter. But, as a business owner, it’s crucial that you give your body and soul a rest.
So now, I do things differently, and I think this new way is much more balanced: Remind yourself what the holidays are for — to take a step back and appreciate what you have, to enjoy your family and friends, to give to others, and to be good to yourself. So take that walk in the snow, go to that tree lighting with your kids, get that massage, and plan a leisurely shopping day during the week. You’ll be back to work before you know it.
Remember, we only have so many Christmases in a lifetime.© Copyright 2010 Ali Brown