So the holidays are here, but what does that mean for you as an entrepreneur? Although the world is slowing down your business should not! Prudent entrepreneurs use the holidays to get some of the 4 P's done and be ready for the upcoming year!

How to enjoy the holidays as an entrepreneur:

From mid-November to January many people shift their focus from their business to enjoying/surviving the holidays. There are travel arrangements to be made, gifts to buy, food to cook, reflections from the previous year, and plans for the upcoming one. It's a busy and magical time where memories are made and everything that is important returns back into focus.... except your business. For many they get distracted by the holidays and forget that they are solely responsible for what they produce. Things get shifted to auto-pilot and no real progress is made until January. I want to encourage you to enjoy the holidays AND your business during the next couple of weeks. I'm not anti-break or anti-holidays, I'm just anti-stagnation. Just like the pounds that sneak up during these couple of weeks so does losing focus and momentum in your business. So let's go over some things you can do while you deck the halls and hit the stores!

  • Plan - You know I love a good plan!
    • Do you have a plan for the holiday season? - You know when the major holidays are, but have you incorporated them into your business model? After Thanksgiving there is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. Each of these days are opportunities to remind people about your business and benefit from the shopping season. If you missed any of these holidays don't dismay they are just the START of the holiday shopping season, we still have until mid-January for the shopping frenzy to stop. Think of a product or service you can create for this season. Or re-purpose your content for your vacationing consumer to find. This season is a great time to catch people who are open and willing to find something new!
    • Take a break! -  Yes, take off for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas. You are not a machine. You need to recharge and spend quality time with people or things that restore your creative energy. You need to remember that you do business with people and that there are people who care about you. You need to sit and relax. But to do so without a million things on your mind requires planning. Do not be reactive, be proactive. Write everything that you need or want to do (brain dump) and then leave the list to go back to after the holidays. This signals to your brain that you heard it and appreciate the reminders, but will come back to do these things after some dinner and gifts! 
    • Ready for the new year? - This time of year is the best time to plan for your upcoming year. Don't want until January to put together some half-cooked list of resolutions or goals. Really evaluate your business and create an action plan that will take you closer to your purpose and mission. Think, measure, and evaluate each of the 5 areas of business:
      • Value creation or Production - How you created what people want
      • Marketing - How you shared what you created
      • Sales - How you turned browsers into buyers
      • Value Delivery or your Systems - How you delivered to your buyers
      • Finance - How you managed what you brought in and spent
    • If you need help with any of the above please feel free to book yourself a strategy session to cut the noise and make a decision!
  • Produce - Create something don't just consume! While you have some time off get back to the plans you made at the beginning of the year and  create those ideas. As the year goes on, we often get so busy that the projects that give us joy or are interesting get pushed aside for what is practical and prudent. Write blog posts, record videos, create posts, or just share what you've found. Filling your creative catalog backup with focused time and energy on what you love is something easy to do during this season and get you ready for the new year. 
  • Purge - Drop the extra (in your business and belly)!
    • Purge baby purge! I love reflecting and throwing away all of the stuff that has piled up during the year. As we get ready for the new year (and tax season), start going over the following:
      • Emails - We all have way too many emails. Many from subscriptions that we don't even remember signing up for. Luckily, there is plenty you can do to get your inbox down. You can filter non-relevant mail into folders that you skim and clear each week. You can create new email addresses for specific things so that it all doesn't come to one box. Or you can just delete! Lol. One of my favorite email tools is Unroll.me . Using this free tool I was able to cut down 20 unnecessary subscriptions! #wining  (If you want to know more about all of the tools I love to use join my Facebook Group for weekly tech and tips!)
      • Financials - Open, organize, and purge all of those bills that have been piling up! Put all of your receipts where they belong and get rid of those that you don't need for your taxes. Don't wait until April to look back at this year. Update your Excel, Mint.com, or Quickbooks ledger while you have some time to remember if that lunch was a business or personal expense... What you track you can, optimize, grow, and leverage! 
      • Business cards - Review all of the contacts that you made this year and all of the meetings that you forgot to follow up with. Make a list and send off emails scheduling your "Let's catch up," events for January. Add everyone on LinkedIn or the social media platform of your choice and toss the cards! Having an active and engaged network is essential to the growth of your business, so make the time to connect. I tried to squeeze some last minute meetings in the first half of December calendar and then will commence my annual "Hey, how are you," meetings for the first quarter of the year. As wise networkers know you receive most of your best opportunities from those who are on the perimeter of your network also called your "weak ties."
      • Event or Conference Swag - I've been to several conferences this year and try to attend a couple of events here and there. So for this year I have amassed a huge pile of swag. Instead of shoving everything into a cube in my office I'm dragging it out, sorting what's relevant, and tossing the rest! I love to hope that EVERY SINGLE THING I picked up will be relevant when I get home but it's not! Now that I'm removed from the event and the post-event high I can objectively read, apply, and toss! I am a good branding hoarder and love pretties like the next person, but you still gotta have boundaries before you need an intervention... 
      • Files - I love paper, good paper too! But nevertheless having a home office forces you to keep a lean system. You don't have the luxury to leave the junk at the office and come home, if your office is junky you will see it! I help clients reduce their paper and clutter by using the tools we all have access to and creating a system that works for them and this year I've practiced what I preached and started cutting down on my paper. I love to plan with blank paper and pretty markers but now when I'm done I scan the image and put it in the appropriate Google Drive folder and TOSS THE PAPER! Further, all of my computer files are also backed up on my cloud based system that I access anywhere. If you would like help with your business system feel free to contact me here. 
      • Social Media - I enjoy social media but I also remember it's a tool that I use for my business. So I treat it like the marketing tool it is and try to make decisions based on objective data and my business goals. I am telling you this because many of us are very casual about using social media as a tool which means we do not optimize our contacts, platforms, and posts. This year I encourage you to examine EVERY SINGLE PLATFORM you are on. I mean really study it! Then update your profile, bios, and links. Next examine your contacts, groups, and posts, and remove what you do not want for the next year. These platforms are YOUR opportunity to invite people to connect with you and your business so be intentional about how you use them. 
      • Books, clothes, other items you outgrew - Not everything needs to be tossed, some items can find a second life with someone else. Go through your magazines, books, DVD's, clothes, accessories, even technology and get rid of anything you really haven't touched during this last year and let it have new life with someone else. The goal should not be acquisition but growth through application. 
  • Position - Where do you want to be? So you got a clean slate starting January 1, what will you do with it? Each year we get to decide what we want to do, how we will do it, and with whom. Because you get to make the decision really think about it. Reflect on your goals for this year, did you meet them? And what about what you did this year? Were you proactive or reactive? Did you aim high or low? Lastly, who did you work with this year? Do you want to strengthen or distance those relationships? Even more important what did you learn? You see you are in control and what you decide you will create. So decide your three biggest business goals for next year that will center all of your decisions. Post them up on your wall, share them with a friend, place them on your phone. This year I wanted to teach, speak, and travel. Those three grounded me and my decisions. I said yes to things that were in alignment and no to things that were not. Intentionally think about where you want to be so you can take intentional and consistent action to get there. Next map out your position in advance. Buy a calendar or print one and really evaluate where you want to be, go, and how you hope to grow for each quarter. Be careful to not make your goals unattainable or too large for the time allotted for example, hire three people by January. That goal works if you have the systems and infrastructure to hire but if not break that goal down according to the systems that are needed to be in place. If you need help mapping your your business for the new year please visit my how to work with me page and book a strategy session or my vision course to get your new year moving!

So doing any of the above will help you to optimize the holiday season and still stay focused on your business. If you have some additional ideas please share in the comments below! Also please feel free to reach out via social media at any of the platforms below!

This post is one in a two part series so next, check out "What to give and buy an entrepreneur for the holidays?"

 

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