For many small businesses, the time between Christmas and New Year's can be pretty, well...slow. What better time to get prepared for a successful start to the New Year? Whether you work as a solopreneur, or manage a 10-20 employee office, here are some simple things you and/or your team can do before the countdown:
* Clear the spaces. You knew I was going to include this, didn't you? There is absolutely no denying that getting your office in order gets you set up for success. Block out time for a "Day of Purging" and take a hard look at the stuff that has collected over the year. Donate or recycle old, unused equipment. Sort through piles of paper and decide what could be scanned vs. what should be shredded. Make a quick inventory of what you have and see if it is still relevant to your business needs. Conversely, are there things you could use that you just haven't made the time to research and purchase? Start making the list...
* Check out some new technology. Did you purchase an iPad only to have it gather dust due to the lack of time to explore it? Well pull it out and see what wonders it holds. Now is also the time to REALLY learn how to use Evernote and all of it's helpful features, discover a more efficient way to process credit transactions, or check out the cloud backup system you've been wondering about. Why not review some new productivity apps while you're at it? Some good ones to try are Fuze, Promodoro, MindNode and Dragon Dictation.
*Review and update your business plan. It's a cliche', but you know that failing to plan is planning to fail. Attorney Adam Hill of Hill Law in Nashville has this advice for businesses:
"End of year is a natural time to take stock of where your business has been for the past year. Find the time to get back on track and familiar with your business plan - have you looked at it in a while, or have you moved from fire to fire without focusing on the big picture? Finding that time to look for improvement options, and reinvest in your plan, is the perfect type of thing to do at this time of year."
Additionally, look at your calendar for the past 12 months and make note of important dates and milestones. What worked in this past year? What didn't? Have you grown? If so, take the time to review your workflow procedures and meet with employees to see if these procedures still make sense for everyone.
* If you haven't already, thank your network. Notice I didn't say just "customers". When you stop to think about it, you probably have a wide group of people who have helped out your business in some way this year, whether through referrals, shared information, services or even shout-outs on social media. Take the time to let them know you appreciate everything they do for you by sending a handwritten note, or inviting them out for coffee or lunch. Another nice (and possibly tax deductible) thing to do: make a donation to a charity in their honor before the year is over.
So instead of hibernating and lamenting when end-of-year business wanes, put that time to best use (especially while your competitors may be relaxing). You'll find yourself in a much better position to conquer the world in the coming months. Here's to a wonderful holiday season, and a successful, organized New Year!
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?