Four Ways Entrepreneurs Can Turn Holiday Cheer into a Jump Start for the New Year
By: Melanie Shires, PCC
Tis’ the season for most of the world to begin looking forward to taking a week or two off from work, spend time relaxing, vacationing and enjoying quality time with friends and family. Everyone that is, except us entrepreneurs.
Though most of us will spend a few days soaking in the holiday cheer with loved ones, we just can’t help continuing to work on and think about our business non-stop preparing for an even bolder new year with fresh ideas and lofty goals, particularly because we know our competitors are doing the same. It is almost impossible for us hit the pause button on our brains. Therefore, instead of fighting the inevitable, we need to get intentional with our thoughts and how we spend our time to turn holiday cheer into a jump start for the new year.
The difficulty is getting intentional about WHAT to work on over the holidays and then put those intentions to work by getting organized, focused, and on task. Late December is traditionally a terrible time to try to solidify partnerships, close deals and make progress on key program milestones, given everyone we know and work with are usually taking their hard-earned vacations. Once most of us are caught up on outstanding communications and end-of-the-year budgeting, we can feel stagnant and completely at a loss for what to work on.
Like most self-employed business owners at one time or another, I have struggled with end-of-the-year stagnation and the phenomenon of doing things to make me “feel” busy, but not really being productive. I’ve now put into practice setting aside the holidays for four key activities that allow me to successfully regroup for the new year.
1. Strategic Planning
By mid-December, most entrepreneurs would have drafted (or at least started) a strategic plan for the coming year. I find the holidays to be a great time to refine that plan and prepare for a successful kickoff when the new year begins. It’s also a good idea to start the new year with an all-hands on deck meeting between you and your collaborators – team, staff or partners (if you have them) that launches various projects and gets everyone re-aligned around your mission and vision.
To maximize the effectiveness of this all-hands on deck meeting in early January, I recommend start working on a discussion at the beginning of the holidays and keep open to continue the conversation, tweaking as new ideas keep emerging during quiet office days.
2. Marketing Strategies
As you iterate your strategic plan during the holidays, you’ll likely have many additional ideas specifically around marketing and ways to reach new customers or clients. The holidays are a great time to evaluate your marketing data and re-assess what tactics worked well and which ones did not. Creating marketing strategies for the upcoming year should center around things that worked well. Use this data as the basis for deciding which marketing services, applications and funnels you should invest in and utilize.
3. Thought Leadership
If you’re like me, you probably have many ideas for blog posts, articles, workshops or speaking gigs that would help you promote your company’s mission or business offerings through a variety of media channels. The problem is that we rarely have time to write these articles!
The holiday season is a great time to catch up on our long backlog of blog-writing, video posts and speaking proposals. My strategy for keeping valuable content consistently coming from my business is pre-writing and pre-scheduling many of my blogs and articles over the holidays so they can be gradually submitted over the coming months with minimal last-minute editing.
Most successful entrepreneurs get where we are with the help of dozens of key collaborators – mentors, investors, partners, users and other founder friends. The holidays are a great time to thank these people for all their great advice and support. Whether you send a giant blast of emails or write classy individual hand-written notes (my favorite), you’ll find practicing gratitude will improve your personal brand and make you a happier person overall.
The holidays are the perfect time to evaluate where your business is, regroup and plan for the new year. During the downtime, put these four activities into practice to help position you and your business for a productive start to the new year.