It’s the first weekend of fall - one of our favorite times of the year! The weather is cooler and crisp, with colorful leaves falling, pumpkin patches, yummy treats, and nostalgic scents filling the air. We are entering the season of sweater weather, holidays, and family time. This is also the beginning of the fourth quarter in your business, which can be one of the busiest and most profitable times of the year for your small business if you plan accordingly.
This time of year can fly by and quickly fill up with things to do. Before you know it, Christmas is here and a new year is beginning. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Planning is essential when it comes to business, so we’ve put together a list of things to think about to help you finish this year strong and set yourself up for success in the new year. With strategic planning and simple, thoughtful execution, you can feel confident in your business goals and enjoy everything that comes with the season.
+ Plan Your Year-End Client Appreciation Gifts This season is the perfect time to show appreciation to your customers and clients for their support throughout the year. Plan out your gifts now so it is thoughtful, meaningful, and not rushed or seen as an afterthought. Don’t forget to update your contact lists for current clients and friends now so that when you find the perfect gift, you can quickly and easily send them out before they get lost in the holiday rush. Establish a per-gift budget and stick to it.
+ Revisit Your Goals
Set a meeting to revisit the goals you set last year and look over your numbers so that you can see where you’re at and where you need to be to reach your goals for the year! Review your current plan for the remainder of the year. Decide what’s working, and what could use some adjustments. Calculate your ROI (return on investment) and analyze what was most and least successful and make adjustments as necessary. What would you change about how your business operated this year? Think about what you want to add or change for the next year.
+ Use Your Time Strategically
Your time is valuable and you will be pulled in many different directions this season both personally and professionally. Use your time strategically and focus on the things that will be most beneficial to the growth of your business. Once you’ve reviewed your goals for the end of the year, break down the items into smaller, manageable tasks to avoid being overwhelmed and reach your ultimate goals. Plan ahead and figure out the most efficient way to use your time and focus on income-producing activities that will bring you success.
+ Plan Your Marketing Strategy and Content Now
There will be a lot of noise for consumers to sort through over the next few months. Plan your content in advance so you’re not rushing and can make sure it’s in your brand’s voice and well-designed to stand out from the crowd. Planning ahead allows you to make the most of your fourth quarter sales.
Get started early on marketing material for any sales, events, promotions, etc. Whether you’re using digital or physical methods, plan them out and get those designs created and printed (if necessary) as soon as possible. When you plan and promote early, you can get ahead of competitors. If you need help with designs and marketing material, book a complimentary chat with us to see if our Monthly Brand Management Package could be the right fit for you.
+ Utilize Your Calendar
Be sure to use your calendar (either physical or digital) to schedule and write everything down so you don’t feel overwhelmed or end up double-booked! Fill up your calendar with events and any holiday-related campaigns ahead of time. Consider important dates like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. What specials or deals will you make available? How do you want to advertise them? Marketing campaigns don’t have to be costly. Think about email campaigns, social media posts, contests, giveaways, etc. Keep your dates organized and plan ahead so whatever you decide is well thought out and effective.
+ Stock Up on Inventory and Supplies
If your small business sells a physical product, make sure to stock up on inventory and all packaging items now so there are no hiccups or delays when getting items shipped out. Customers often expect availability, especially when shopping for gifts for the holidays. Don’t miss out on sales because you weren’t prepared!
+ Schedule Time for You
Burnout is a real thing, especially during a busy and stressful season. Remember to strategically schedule time for self-care, family time, and relaxation. Plan at least a couple of days off of work (a week is ideal) around the holidays/end of year/January that you can look forward to and have your sights set on. Having realistic and tangible time off to look forward to can give you that extra push and determination to make it through the grind. Bonus: the time off allows you to unplug and return fresh for a new year of possibilities!
Don’t procrastinate; be proactive and make plans now. Finish the year strong while you save time and energy to set yourself up for success as you end this year and prepare for the next. We are here, cheering you on!