In the beginning of October I was all fired up, ready to turn on the gas, and finish the year in a blaze of glory. Six weeks later the wind has gone out of my sails and I am drooling over pictures of Thanksgiving meals and planning trips to visit friends and family over the holidays.
What happened? Has the tryptophan already kicked in? But wait – I haven’t even eaten any turkey yet!
If you are in the same place, here is a double shot of espresso, Tejava (Carol’s fav), or whatever you need so that you and your business make the most of the next six weeks, instead of coasting till the ball drops.
Create a list of projects that need to be completed by year-end
Given that you only have six weeks and there will be breaks for Thanksgiving, holiday parties, and family/friends, be realistic and err on the side of caution about what you can actually accomplish in that timeframe.
If you are trying to prioritize projects, decide which projects can bring in immediate revenue. (Who doesn’t need more money during the holidays?) Try being hands-on and schedule tasks directly on your calendar so that you know exactly what you have to do, and when you need to complete it in order to meet the year-end deadline. Tasks tend to build on each other, so when you miss one deadline, suddenly everything starts to slip.
Start a list of projects for the New Year
As you are creating your year-end list, some of your projects will naturally have to be pushed into the New Year. In addition, you will probably generate some ideas for completely new projects. Make sure that you capture all this somewhere. My new favorite program that will, literally, take you five minutes to master is WorkFlowy. Some people like Evernote. And the tried-and-true pencil and paper option works too.
Schedule meetings with all your big clients
Reach out and touch someone, in person if possible. If you have big clients, especially ones who pay you a retainer, make sure that you schedule a face-to-face meeting or Skype call with them to go over what worked well over the past year (so that they remember what a great job you did) and what the goals are for the next year.
Why? Your clients are probably going through their budgeting process for the next year and you want to make sure that you continue to be included!
Start getting clear about your first quarter plan
Are you planning to roll out a new product/service in January? You need to be marketing and generating awareness for the launch now.
Are you raising your rates in January? You need to be prepping clients and prospects for that, and maybe getting some last-minute December sales from people who want to take advantage of your current pricing.
Coaches, personal trainers, and others often have a big boost in revenue in the first quarter as people set goals to be more productive, start a business, lose weight, etc. In order to take advantage of this, you need to have a plan in place, and be doing the advance marketing required.
Get ready, get set, go
So, as you can see, there is actually quite a bit to accomplish even as you are winding down. Do whatever you need to do to get motivated and in the right mindset to make that sprint to the finish line.
I hope you can see there are big rewards out there for the business owner who keeps his or her eyes on the prize – and doesn’t spend too much time in the buffet line.
What are you doing to finish strong? Please share your tips so we all can benefit.
PS - If you need some help, you might want to consider my Secret Sauce Sessions prioritization and accountability coaching package. (I am happy to honor the introductory pricing.) Just let me know that you are a member of the Business Unplugged™ community and together we will get you focused and on track.
Catherine Morgan is the editorial director for CarolRoth.com | Business Unplugged and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc. She is a business consultant to consultants and a career transition coach. Catherine is an engaging public speaker who frequently presents on several topics, including career transition, growing a solo service business, and productivity.