Twas the night before Christmas Eve, and all though the house, not a creature was stirring, not even your iPhone, Android or Blackberry.
In other words it’s the time of the year when business slows down during the holiday season and you get a well deserved break.
Now that you’re attempting to switch off from your business and spend more time with your family and loved ones, you just need to plan ahead to ensure your momentum keeps going into the new year.
Here are 10 tips to help get you through the next two weeks.
1. Streamline your activities
You can schedule blog posts and the associated promotional efforts on social networks ahead of time and just let it run its course. WordPress has a built in feature that allows you to prepare all your posts, preview them and then schedule them for a later date to be posted. The same can be done via Hootsuite or TweetAdder for Twitter. You can also sync your blog RSS feed to Hootsuite to be automatically tweeted or use Ping.FM to post it to your main networks.
2. ‘Tis the season for caring and sharing
Get into the holiday spirit and if you haven’t already, send last minute holiday cards to your customers and clients online. Include a note of appreciation, and holiday blessing. You can use a holiday card tool such as JibJab to send out your greeting via email.
They do hilarious interactive cards that include you looking silly as a dancing elf (see below for my 2009 version). Don’t forget to send the greeting to your newsletter subscribers! While you’re at it, update your contact list as well.
3. Make new contacts!
Heading to holiday parties and other festivities? Make sure you bring along your business card. You never know who you will meet along the way. Follow up with your contacts and connect with them on LinkedIn with a personal introduction. Search your next contact on Twitter and comment on their latest blog post. If you’re feeling a bit rusty on your networking skills, check out my tips on how to network and following up effectively.
4. Set up your systems
Make sure your voicemail and out of office email responses reflect your plans for the holidays. That way if clients have questions, they know not to expect a response right away and are not left waiting. Use an online tool like Tungle.me to block out your holiday schedule so no meetings are booked. Make sure any files you want while you are out of the office are available on your Drop Box and for those important files, send them to BackUpElf for storage.
5. Clean up and prepare for next year
Use the time to clear out your inbox and attend to less important items. Remove anything that is over a month old. Clear out and organize your computer for the next year. File documents in their proper folders for easy access later on. Clean up your physical environment too. File and store away items that you do not need access to immediately. Having a clean office working environment will do wonders for getting your business off to a good start in the new year.
6. Get your financials in order
Go over your budgeted and actual revenues and expenses to help plan your finances for the upcoming year. See where you are over spending and adjust to make sure you’re on track in the new year. Send out all outstanding invoices – extra cash! A great tool for managing and monitoring all your finances is Indinero. It keeps track of your business with a visual graphs as well as updates and reminders of bill payments and whether or not you’re on track. It works with Freshbooks as well. Plus, by going through all your finances, you can get a head start on tax season!
Figure out what activities are important to you over the holidays and make it happen. For many, the holidays are a time to be spent with family and just because you are running your own business, you shouldn’t act any different. Think about what activities you need to do to ensure your business continues operating while still giving you the time and flexibility to enjoy the holidays. You can use a tool such as RescueTime, which shows you what activities to prioritize and where you spend your time on the internet so you can become more effective.
8. New Year Reflection and Resolutions
Many people take the time during the holidays to reflect on the past year and set new year resolutions for the next. I know I will be doing some pretty big picture thinking.
Do the same for your business. Ask yourself, is your business where you envisioned it a year ago? If so, fabulous, how are you going to carry on the momentum into the new year?
If not, how can you redirect it so it is back on track? Might I suggest letting your business take off in 2011 with a leap towards business freedom thanks to the expertise of 8 Wonder Women in the Passport to Business Freedom program.
9. Use the down time for personal development and growth.
If you are anything like me, you probably will have lists of things you want to read or learn more about. Use the holiday period to catch up on the reading you’ve been meaning to get to and learn new skills andideas to help your business grow in the new year. To manage everything on your reading list, use a to-do app such as TeuxDeux, to help keep your lists organized.
PS: I have a great post coming up with your most recommended business books to read.
Not sure where to start your reading until then? I have a fantastic list of books and blogs to help you on your way.
10. Relax and enjoy the holidays!
It is okay to take a step back and relax and spend time with your friends and family. Take some time out to recharge your batteries and de-stress. You can’t be a wonderpreneur all year you know!
Tell me what you’re going to do over the Christmas Holidays – either for yourself, your business or both!
Here’s wishing you an AMAZING Christmas. You have totally made my year with your incredible love and support for everything I do here on this blog and just by being a part of the Suitcase Entrepreneur and WomanzWorld community.