I LOVE this time of year! But one thing’s for sure—business tends to slow down a bit. But since it’s predictable, you can plan ahead to take advantage of the downtime. Check out my list of 10 things you can do to make the most of this time…
1) Clean your office. This is the perfect time of the year to get organized! Clean up any stray papers, file them away and add some cute accessories that make you feel good! The goal: Streamline and reorganize what you have so that you can find everything you need in 60 seconds or less…and create a soul-nurturing space where you love spending time.
2) Take a break from work. Take some extra time away from your business over the holidays to replenish your energy. Book an appointment at a spa, go to the movies or go for a hike. Spend time with family and friends. Breathe. Do whatever makes you feel good!
3) Get ready for tax season. This is a great time to get your business finances in order. If you haven’t been keeping up with tracking your income and expenses, it will likely take a big chunk of time to get caught up. Hopefully, you’ve been saving your receipts and have a separate business bank account and credit card so you can easily reconcile your data.
If you don’t work with a bookkeeper who can help you with this task, you can create a simple spreadsheet on your own to track everything you want to send to your accountant. Or you can try the tool I use—Go Daddy Bookkeeping (formerly known as Outright). Go Daddy Bookkeeping is a FREE online tool that automates your accounting tasks by pulling all of your accounts (bank accounts, credit cards, PayPal, Amazon, etc.) into one place. Then, it organizes your data into IRS-approved tax categories. They also have an iPhone app so you can enter your mileage/cash transactions on the spot and a paid version of the software with enhanced capabilities.
And while you’re at it, this is a great time to review and evaluate where your money went last year and make budget decisions for the coming year!
4) Create your plan for the coming year. If you haven’t done this already, you’ll want to get your business development and marketing plan in place BEFORE the New Year—so you can hit the ground running. Be sure to analyze what went well over the past year, what didn’t and what needs to change; define your goals for the coming year; and calendar out your major projects. Need help? Be sure to check out my “Marketing Plan in a Day” Virtual Workshop, where I’ll be walking you through the entire process.
5) Go through the home study programs and content from courses you signed up for this year but didn’t actually use. I see it all the time. Business owners sign up for the latest courses, but get so busy with their day-to-day work that they never actually consume the content. OR they consume it, but never create time to implement what they’ve learned. Don’t let that happen to you! Use the downtime over the holidays to review what you’ve purchased related to business development over the last year, determine which products/courses are most critical for you based on your current goals and start implementing!
6) Catch up on your emails and unsubscribe from everything you don’t read. If you’re like most business owners, you face an avalanche of emails pouring in to your Inbox every day. This is an ideal time to sort through any miscellaneous unread messages and begin unsubscribing from all those newsletters that aren’t bringing you value.
7) Organize your data files. Are all your computer files organized in a way that you can easily find what you’re looking for? If not, why not take some time to purge all those files that are cluttering up your system and taking up precious memory space, and create a simple filing system to store what you have. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to back everything up!
8) Start creating your systems manual. As you know, I’m a big believer that your business should run like a well-oiled machine. The key to making that happen? Efficient, documented business systems. Not sure where to start? Review my top tips here.
9) Update your list-building freebie. Now’s a good time to re-evaluate the “can’t resist gift” on your website and determine what you could do to make it even more irresistible. Want some ideas for what to create and what to include? Check out my tips here and here.
10) Thank your clients. Take this opportunity to do something special for your clients. You could give them a call to thank them for their business; send a note, card or gift; make a donation on behalf of them to an organization that’s aligned with your business mission; or offer them a special “inner circle” discount on one of your products or services.