Running a business is hard, and racing towards Christmas after a l-o-n-g, challenging year, it feels even harder.
Here’s 7 things I’ve learned about finishing the year well after 8 years in business.
1. Lock in Christmas close-down dates
In October, I’m usually tired and pretty much counting the days till holidays. This is a reliable reminder that it’s time to block out my Christmas close down dates in the calendar. Make sure to define your last day of work and also the first day that you’re going to be back in the office in the new year.
Check any Calendly or Discovery Call/website enquiry booking options are also switched to unavailable for your close down dates so potential clients can’t accidentally book meetings in that time and you’re not disappointing anyone. (I may have learned this one from personal experience…)
2. Set up for a strong start
As the year races to the end, wrapping up projects, doing all the final last-minute things, a bunch of (very organised) people are already planning for next year. I used to feel really stressed about calls and enquiries from these go-getters. But then I learned that those clients really just want to finish the year strong, knowing they had a plan to move forward, and a meeting booked for early new year. Just having that date set was enough, and now it doesn’t add to my mental load at all.
Instead, it sets up the new year for work (yay!) and momentum. October, November and December are great times to be booking client meetings for the end of January and February.
If you’re the organised one and you want to get the jump on your 2024 marketing plan, you can book a Strategy Call with me now.
3. Set a reminder to turn on your Out of Office
Make a note in your calendar or schedule an alarm to set up your out of office e-mail for both internal audiences and external audiences. (Here’s the link in case you need a reminder like I sometimes do) I try and do it in the last week of work, using the automatic ‘Send automatic replies during these dates’ option. It’s easy to forget to do this and end up scrambling at 5:06pm on your last day, but having it done means you can actually relax and switch off properly!
4. Give your clients a heads up
November is a great time to change your e-mail signature to advise people of your Christmas close down. Include your re-opening date for the new year to set a clear expectation of when you’ll be back at work.
5. Ongoing projects courtesy call
It’s worth taking the time to draft an email to clients whose projects will span the Christmas break. Shoot them an e-mail or give them a phone call letting them know when they can expect your first meeting to re-launch the project in the new year. You’ll feel even more organised if you also shoot through a meeting request to lock it in their diary.
6. In case of emergency, break glass
Don’t actually break the glass- especially if it’s holding gin- but you know what I mean.
If clients need to contact you when they have an issue- even over the holiday break- e-mail your client database and let them know HOW the emergency contact procedure works. Be specific about this.
‘If you have an urgent issue, please call me directly on this number and leave a voicemail/text so I can action as soon as I have reception’.
7. Set up first week wins
Shape the first week back in the office after summer holidays to give you some space to breathe. That means planning for it now. Sure, you might be working from the Monday, but that doesn’t mean you have to book any in-person meetings before Wednesday if you don’t want to.
Give yourself time to deal with your inbox, get your head back in the game and reacquaint yourself with any projects you’re working on.
I always like to make that first week a lighter week from both time and load perspective. Personally, coming back after a month off feels like a smack in the face. It takes me a bit to get my head back in the game after a standing stop. Trying to remember that I have a business to be responsible for, clients who appreciate concise sentences and speaking like a professional again can be a shock to the system. After a month of day time naps, swims and and reading books in the hammock, I try to be gentle with myself and plan to work short days. Starting a bit later or finishing earlier for that first week helps me extend the holiday feeling, but also know that I’m actually being productive at some level.
Did this help?
This list of things I’ve learned is about setting up your business (and yourself) for success. If there’s something I’ve missed, shoot me a message and let me know so I can add it to the list!
I hope you have a great holiday and come back refreshed and enthusiastic ready to make 2024 a terrific year.