Year End To-Do's
The holidays are in full swing and the end of yet another year is fast approaching. It's typically such a busy time for everyone. Many are focused on finishing the year strong, while others are preparing to back things down a bit and enjoy some time off. Some say that business really slows down these last few weeks of the year so it's a good time to clean up the office and what-not.
Why not take advantage of what the season offers to set your business up for an even better year than the one you just had? Here are three things on my end of the year to-do list: Planning, Networking, and Giving Thanks. Think about your own business and use some of this time at the end of the year to jump start the new-year!
Planning for Next Year
Take some time to plan for next year. Don't wait until the beginning of the year to plan for next year. Do it now. Yes, even if you're busy, you should carve out some time to plan for next year.
Everyone has different ideas about what annual planning looks like, but don't just limit it to a review of the numbers from this year and a projection of numbers for the coming year.
Review your purpose, vision and goals. You need to set specific, measurable goals for yourself at least once a year. But, don't forget to take a look at your business purpose and vision as well.
Is your business still on track and headed in the same direction as previously defined? How has your business changed or evolved in the past year? Remember, if you don't know where you're going, then there's really no way to tell if you're ever getting there. Besides, how can you set a marketing direction if you don't know where your business is going?
Analyze how and where your clients came from this year. You do monitor and track your marketing and sales efforts don't you? I hope so. How else are you going to know where you could make improvements in your system for next year?
What worked well and not so well in terms of your lead generation and sales conversion systems? The things that worked well you'll obviously want to do some more of next year. The things that did not work so well should be reviewed to determine where the opportunities for continuously improving results might be.
Don't just look at the various marketing campaigns and specific lost sales opportunities. Go all the way back to the preparation work which should be the underpinning of your entire marketing and sales system.
Could you do a better job of defining your target niche, your strategic differentiator, your attention getting message, your evidences of success, or your risk reversal?
What kinds of tweaks could you make in your lead generation and sales conversion tools? Maybe you could come up with some better attention getting headlines. Perhaps there's room for a more compelling offer or a clearer call to action.
Don't forget about your reselling and referral systems. Are you sure you're offering your clients all the value that you have to offer?
I will always be a big believer that the time you spend planning will pay off ten-fold versus just jumping in and doing the things you think should be done.
The holidays are a great time to network. Gatherings are abundant and all of them represent potential opportunities to make great connections. Hopefully, you've already been taking advantage of many of these opportunities for your business. Here are just a few thoughts and ideas to keep in mind for the holiday networking season.
Don't waste opportunities when you meet someone new because you think it's a holiday party and people aren't there to do business. I would submit to you that one of the most asked questions is still likely to be, “What do you do?" Be prepared with your attention getting message - your 10-second WOW! You just never know who you might be meeting.
Always remember all of your networking etiquette, skills and know-how. Go prepared to ask good questions, listen actively, share valuable information, and know what kinds of connections could be useful to you and your business.
Think through your follow-up and stay in-touch plan. It would be a shame to make a great connection and then not see that person again until you both attend the same party or open house next year. Be prepared to share resources of value that help you turn initial attention into building up of interest, credibility and trust.
Hosting your own holiday get-together? I just love this idea I saw from Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon in their Contacts Count newsletter a couple of years ago.
It's called the “Ask Me" Game. In advance, prepare a variety of name tags that say things like “Ask me about the best business book I read this year. " Or, “Ask me how I started my own business. " Or, “Ask me about a favorite holiday tradition. " Or, “Ask me about my greatest success story this year. "
Make up about twice as many name tags as guests expected. Leave a handful of blank name tags on the table for guests to make up their own.
By the way, this is still a great game if your party is a social instead of business gathering. Just substitute some of the “ask me" topics for things like vacation, movie, weekend get-away, etc. Your friends will love it.
Those of you that know me know that I often say “You can't say ‘Thank You’ too much. " The holidays and the end of the year are a wonderful time to say just that to the many people in your life.
Holiday greeting cards are nice, but think about taking an extra moment to write a personal note to say thank you to the great connections that impact your business.
I'd like to take this opportunity to say THANKS to all of my subscribers, clients, prospective clients (even the ones who said “NO"), networking connections, contacts made, friends, and especially my wife and family for this past year. I'm learning so much and loving the journey.
(c) - Kevin Dervin, KPD Marketing
About the Author:
Kevin Dervin is the owner of KPD Marketing and the creator of the ABCD Growth Marketing System. He's focused on helping small, service-based businesses and professionals that are ready to grow but struggle with how to attract more clients consistently.
If you find this article useful, you’d probably enjoy Kevin’s FREE monthly eZine called ABCD Grow. To subscribe, just go to http://www.ABCDgrowth.com and follow one of the links to the FREE Stuff page! Everyone who subscribes will get Kevin's free report, "Five Fundamentals To Help You Boost Your Service Business And Increase Your Satisfaction!"