There are only seven more weeks left in 2015.
It’s always unbelievable how quickly time moves when you own a business, but the time for end-of-year business goals in the final stretch is upon us again.
So, rather than exhausting yourself in a sprint toward January 1, you might want to think about pacing yourself with one business goal per week until that date arrives.
It’s much more manageable, and it’s an easy way to feel like you’ve knocked some of the important to-do items off your list without getting stressed out around the holidays.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
Raise Your Prices
The end of a calendar year is a great time to institute a price increase, because it seems like a logical cutoff date for your clients. The secret, though, is doing it in a way that you don’t lose clients as a result.
I wrote about my first experience with sending a price increase letter a while back, and I now make this an annual notice (so that I’m raising my prices on a regular basis.)
Here are the basics you need to know about raising your prices:
- Give your clients a heads up. No one likes to be surprised with an unexpectedly higher bill—especially those working with tight budgets.
- Root your request in ethos. Explain why your prices are going up by illustrating any changes in workload as well as a need for normal cost-of-living adjustments.
- Showcase your value. Remind your customers what amazing results you’ve produced for them so they know exactly why you deserve more money.
Re-Define Your Ideal Customer
Businesses change all the time, and that means pivoting to cater to your most ideal customer wherever you’re currently at within that evolution.
The problem is, we get so busy in the details of our daily work that we forget to think about these big-picture strategy items. But when we don’t, our sales pipeline suffers (along with our income.)
Take the time to think about who your ideal customer is at this very moment. Think about:
- Where they spend time, online and offline
- What their pain points are, and how you can solve them
- What way they want to hear from you (Email? Phone? Social Media?)
- How you can get in front of more of them
Why do it? Because accomplishing this business goal before the end of the year helps ensure you start 2016 off on the right foot.
Fire Your Worst Employee
The holidays seem like the worst possible time to fire someone, but remember: These decisions aren’t personal.
If we use this line of thinking, there could always be a reason NOT to fire someone. It’s their birthday. They just got married. They have a sick grandmother—you name it. If they’re bad for your business and aren’t performing up to par, now is the time for both of you to start with a clean slate.
Firing doesn’t have to be a dramatic event, especially when done right. Keep in mind that you need to make the meeting brief, to prepare yourself emotionally, and to be sure that you have your legal matters in order.
Bad hires are expensive. And when they don’t show up for work, it costs you money. Grit your teeth and make the call.
Create a Budget
Without a proper budget, you can’t make smart business decisions. Plain and simple.
And while making a budget might seem like a scary, daunting task—it’s actually pretty easy. A budget is one of those very basic documents that allows your business to grow and thrive.
To get a jump-start on this task, pull together your financial documents from the past year and think about where you’d like to be financially at this time next year.
From there, the numbers will create a clear picture of what you need to do to make that a reality.
Want 2016 to be more stress-free? One word: Delegate. You know it’s time to delegate when you’re working late, missing family events, and your health starts to go to crap.
Delegation starts with finding out which team members are best suited to take on new challenges and responsibilities—and then allowing them to do so.
I know: It’s tough for business owners to let go and relieve themselves of some of the tasks they’ve always done themselves, but it’s for the overall health of you and your business. YOU NEED THIS. DO IT…DO IT NOW.
Follow Up with Past Customers
Have some customers you haven’t worked with in a while? Reach out. Say, “Happy Holidays? (Remember me?)”
With something as small as a phone call, a card, or an email, you can re-connect with your clients you haven’t heard from in a while in a very authentic, non-salesy way (thanks, holidays!) This simple reminder that you’re around might be the spark that gets them to buy from you again.
Plus: It just feels good to spread some holiday cheer.
The end of the year is a time for you to look back on all you’ve accomplished and celebrate your hard work. That means both as a business owner and with your entire team.
- At Thanksgiving, give thanks for another year in business.
- Party with your awesome team. Go bowling. Have hot wings. Get crazy.
- Make the holiday season a month-long celebration.
- Highlight your best clients and do something special for them.
And finally, give yourself a day to do whatever you want to do. For me, I’m looking forward to a day at the spa. Treat yo’ self 2015, right? Do whatever you want, for a WHOLE DAY.
Prepare for 2016, Proactively
Starting while there’s still seven weeks left in the year, you have plenty of time to get all of these business goals checked off your to-do list. Then, 2016 will be off to a fantastic start.