We’re coming to the end of 2016 and I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted and am looking forward to a relaxing Christmas break. Over the years as a company, though, we’ve realized that if we don’t push hard to set ourselves up for a fast start in 2017, we don’t hit our targets in Q1. If this is a familiar scenario with your business and you’re wondering what, if anything, you can do to keep the momentum going, take heart because you’re not alone.
Here are five activities that you can do to ensure you finish strong in 2016 and set up a fast start to 2017:
1. Be proactive in scheduling meetings.
Most people will want to push or delay meetings several weeks before the holidays. Don’t let that happen. Ensure you have timelines that require their attention and book meetings before the break as well as into the first two weeks of January. Don’t fall into the time delay trap when people tell you to connect in the New Year and set up a time then. This only delays activity and action until the 3rd or 4th week of the month, which means you’ve lost an entire month of productivity. Don’t be afraid to say that your calendar is filling up and you want to ensure they are prioritized.
2. Clean up the financial loops and push on collections prior to December 31st.
As a business owner, you live or die on cash flow and ensuring you have strong receivables to close the year adds an extra level of comfort when you’re celebrating the season. Even if December 31st is not the close of your fiscal, it’s still a great excuse to nudge and ensure payment is in the bank.
3. Launch something new to start 2017.
This doesn’t have to be a major product or service. Launching a new customer feedback program or goal setting exercise is a great way to engage with current, lapsed or prospective customers. It will focus your sales team – or yourself – on a specific task and builds on the premise that most people are open to new ideas to start the year off right. This means you can’t leave for holidays until the “new project” is ready to go.
4. Finish one important but non-urgent project.
We all have important projects for our organizations that seem to get pushed back as more urgent priorities take their place. Before you head out for the holidays, though, make a commitment to finish just one important but non-urgent project. It will leave you with a strong sense of accomplishment as you wind down over the holidays and will also give you some added motivation when you return in January – relaxed and recharged.
5. Plan your first-month task list.
Take one hour on your last day in the office to plan your tasks for January. Schedule your meetings and write out a task list for when you return. Keep that list on your desk and come back to it when you walk in the door on your first day. This will help clear your mind before the start of the holidays while providing you with a major boost of productivity on your first day back.
Don’t allow distractions or complacency to hold you back from finishing strong this year. An all-out push to the holidays will make your rest and recovery that much sweeter – and well-deserved.
Wishing you all a very productive December and very Merry Christmas!