Common logic dictates that the next two weeks are lost. People have checked out for the year, at least mentally if not physically. However, most entrepreneurs who I know are neither common nor all that logical. So, I want to encourage those reading this to think differently about this holiday season and use this time to take action.
These next two weeks present an opportunity to take steps that can have a meaningful and sustainable impact on your business. The following list is not exhaustive and is offered to inspire some creativity on how you might best maximize this time:
1. Communicate: Reach out to those folks who almost never respond to your emails and voice messages. You know these folks, if you catch them on the phone or meet them in person, they are interested, but then to get back in touch seems all but impossible. Here’s the real story. They’re busy, slightly overwhelmed, and not on top of their inbox. They may have planned to respond to you only to be swept away. Now is the perfect time to reach out. Unless they are on vacation, which should become apparent with an out-of-office notification, they could be just sitting at their desks. Meetings are less frequent during this time, business travel is over for the year, and those also vying for their attention are assuredly following that common logic described above.
2. Express Gratitude: Thank your network of customers, supporters, mentors, and vendors. Take time to write handwritten notes. Not holiday cards, but thank you notes. Call out the specifics of the value you received from the relationship. Mail them close to the first of the year. You will stand out and start the year with some additional goodwill.
3. Be Intentional: Set intentions, milestones, and goals for the New Year. Take time to contemplate the behaviors you want to encourage and those that have not served you well. Develop some milestones. Identify what must be accomplished in the first 30, 60, or 90 days of the year and figure out how you’ll measure them. Set goals, personal and business. Define what success will look like and list out how you will celebrate it when you arrive.
4. Read, watch, learn: Use this time to consume some of the amazing content that is produced to help inform and enrich us. This is a great time to watch a few TED talks, listen to some new podcasts, and read those articles you’ve bookmarked or filed away. Pick a topic for which you feel ill-informed and use this time to educate yourself.
5. Take Care: Your office is a mess and so are you. I mean that in the nicest of ways. Clean it up. Use this time to organize your office, your inbox, and your files. Get rid of the junk and be ready to start the year fresh. In the same vein, make some time to practice self-care. Spend time with your family and take time off. While you’re working, enjoy the extra space in your day. Break up your morning with a walk, a meditation, or a cup of coffee with a friend. Relocate your afternoon. Work from somewhere different, unique. You can grab your laptop and hit a local wine bar, or jump in the car and just find a place that calls to you. Breaking up the monotony of the normal often is the genesis of creative thought and problem-solving.
I think you get the point. This can be a special time of year, not only because it’s the season of giving, reflection, and family. It is also a time where our hurried lives hit a bit of a speed bump. Capitalize on this time. Use it in a way that adds value. Doing so, can make a big difference in your business.