12 Days of a Small Business Christmas

Get sorted for Christmas, and a head start on 2018
 

On the first day of Business Christmas, my Virtual Assistant sent to me, an awesome list of 12 steps to finish the year and get a head start on the new year! And here it is…

CLOSE OFF THE CURRENT YEAR

1. Plan to have some time off over Christmas and spend it with your family
Ask yourself: How are you going to log off over the Christmas period? Even a few days off often needs planning in a small business. Use your diary and actually schedule yourself some days off. Make it a priority to spend a couple of days with friends or family without the guilt of work hanging over you.

2. Send a card to all of your best clients
Once you have planned your time off, don’t forget to thank your clients for a great year (even if it’s been not such a great year!) Definitely send cards to all of your best clients, and most of your other clients if you can. It makes a difference and puts your business in their top of mind going into next year.

3. Send a card to prospective clients or people you have really connected with this year
Don’t forget about your current or future prospects for the new year as well. Handing out a bit of Christmas cheer is never a bad thing, and again, keeps you in touch with them. With prospective clients, it’s good to focus on the new year and what your business will offer them.

4. Thank members of your family who have sent work your way
We often find that members of our family and friends are great advocates and recommend us to others. Remember to personally or via a gift or card, thank these people too – and they will continue to refer to you next year.

5. Back up your hard drive!

FOCUS ON THE NEW YEAR

6. Get a yearly wall planner for 2018, and stick it up!
I love a good wall planner and would advocate that everyone in small business needs to be able to see their whole year at a glance. I have mine up on the wall where I can see it from my desk and constantly look at it for ‘can I do this’ moments.

7. Write down ideas for how you are going to bring in new business in 2018
Now that you have closed off the current year, you can start to focus on the new year. Writing a list sounds like a fairly passive way to get something done, however I am a big advocate for getting things out of my head, and onto some paper/computer and that all starts with a list. At this point, no idea is a bad idea, as you can always weed them out in your further planning before each quarter.

8. Write down your big goals for next year
Take some time out – preferably outside of your office environment – to really think about what you want to achieve next year. These are the big goals. There maybe lots, or just a few big ones. Write them down and mull over them again a few days later to see if that’s what you really want from 2018.

9. Write down your goals for each quarter
Pick out the goals from your year that you would like to achieve in the first quarter. Remember to make them SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant (or realistic) and Timely (with a deadline). A goal is just a wish if it doesn’t have a deadline or isn’t measurable – otherwise how will you know if you have completed it? Think about what you can realistically achieve within the quarter and start from there, or break a yearly goal into chunks so that you can feel like you’re ticking the boxes along the way.

10. Schedule yourself a full day or two days in January to plan in more detail your big goals
Schedule the time to spend on this so that you can enjoy Christmas knowing you have the time afterwards to dedicate to this activity. It’s just as important as the time spent on paid jobs. If you can, take yourself away for a weekend to focus just on this planning phase.

11. Expand on your goals for the first quarter of 2018
Once you’ve listed them, more detailed planning is needed – to determine how you are going to get them done. They’re not going to be achieved just because they’re on your list!

Write the deadlines on your wall yearly planner, figure out how many weeks earlier you need to start the process, and schedule that in along the way. For example, you may have deadline of 30th May to launch an online campaign. You will need a couple of weeks to develop the material and sequencing involved, so you probably need to start that at the beginning of May, given you’re sure to get setbacks along the way. It’s a simple process, but well worth doing in advance. By scheduling the big things in this way, you can avoid being ultra busy at some times and not busy at others.

12. Have a wine/beer and shut your office door, knowing you have readied yourself for a big 2018.

Merry Christmas,

Sam.