Holiday SeasonWhen I started in the packaging business, November and December were dead. Customers dead like us were partying nonstop. Busy customers were packing 20 hours of work into 16-hour days.

Nobody had time to talk about packaging.

But with the Internet coming to town, e-commerce took off like Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. Practically overnight, our business was crazy busy, because vast warehouses needed our stuff to ship their stuff – the stuff people used to buy in stores.

I’ve been on both sides of the dead-or-alive holiday business, so here are a few tips to help you survive either one.

If You’re Dead

  • Strategize. Distractions throttle strategic planning efforts during prime business time. Why not make hay while the snow falls?
  • Leave. All you get waiting for the phone to ring is an ulcer. Recharge your batteries and get ready for the January rush.
  • Clean. A cluttered office is the devil’s workshop. Toss or organize old records, pitch the junk, dust, polish and if necessary, fumigate.
  • Appreciate. Thank customers for their business and vendors for their support with a lunch or dinner or night on the town.
  • Close. Consider moving to a January-December fiscal year. Slow time is good time for closing out the books.

If You’re Alive

  • Don’t Close. Consider moving away from a January-December fiscal year. Busy time is bad time for talking to accountants.
  • Streamline. Using January to jettison junk activities makes for a jolly December when you have nary a second to spare.
  • Outsource. Too much turkey, gravy and business on your plate? Hire pros to manage business functions such as accounting and marketing. This always pays, but especially during the holidays.
  • Temp-orize. If you have kids, cousins, nieces or nephews home for the holidays – perhaps they’d like to earn a little holiday cash?
  • Escape. To stave off insanity, meditate, exercise, see a movie; something, anything other than work. You’re not an elf.

Over to You 

Whether your business is slow or busy, the key is pacing, and the key to pacing is planning. Thinking about December in January is not easy, but exceptional solopreneurs do just that. With this in mind, perhaps the first order of business is to ask Santa for a personal organizer?

What’s your secret holiday sauce for surviving this super-slow or super-busy season?