Energize your business for the rest of 2021
The summer gives lots of us time for much-needed relaxation. It’s time to re-energize so that you can take your business into (what is often) the busiest time of the year. But going from the summer slowdown to the winter rush can take its toll.
Or maybe the summer isn’t a slowdown for your business at all. Perhaps the idea of having to continue pushing into the winter months just feels like too much to cope with — especially if the success of your business is counting on Black Friday and seasonal sales.
We’re going to examine some simple steps to ease into the final quarter, both personally and as a business, and offer ways to inspire and energize yourself as the final part of the year proceeds.
Start with yourself. It may sound obvious, or even a little too simplistic, but there really is a lot of truth in this concept.
Self-care is about more than manicures and resting. It’s approaching life in a way that puts your health and happiness at the center. You can focus on your wellness in tandem with earning money while using your personal needs to inform and guide the rate of work.
Understanding your personal health is a good place to start. It’s important to be in tune with the many idiosyncrasies of your own body, and, if necessary, building them into your working practice or routine. While doing this could, on the surface, seem like an indulgence, or something that could slow productivity, it could actually be something that helps overall productivity by increasing longevity.
Also, it’s worth noting that the best strategy for you and your business may not mean the most sales, the biggest revenue, or the most company growth. It could be achieving slightly less growth, going at a pace that prevents you from burning out as you enter 2022. This is something you can decide based on your own situation.
A huge part of personal well-being is mental well-being. We urge you to look at those who are qualified to speak more authoritatively on the subject — for example, NHS England has an excellent checklist of five ways to approach personal well-being, complete with simple suggestions on how to achieve those suggestions.
Presuming you have personal well-being in check, the next part of your strategy might be about preparing for the months ahead.
Looking back can be a great way of planning what to do next. As your business ages, a byproduct is the accumulation of valuable data — things such as past revenue, your busiest periods, stock, or advertising spend. By dipping into this data, you can find out things such as how your business performed this time last year. By combining that information with how much more or less you are trading this year on average, you can make a prediction for your growth or reduction this season, and use this prediction to influence your buying, advertising, or even extra staff you might need to keep on top of things.
By getting an idea of things like expected orders/workload size you can mentally and physically prepare, and ensure you have resources (stock/staff/appointment slots depending on your industry). Keep what we’ve just mentioned about personal well-being in mind though — these ideas are designed to work in tandem with one another.
You can learn not only from successes but also from the things that didn’t go so well. Did you have a campaign or launch in the last year that didn’t go so well? What can you learn from it? In the words of Henry Ford, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
Social and publicity
Don’t forget to utilize your marketing channels. More people are glued to their screens over the winter months, and this is something to use to your advantage. Contact your loyal customers, and thank them for their business. You could let them know about any upcoming sales or initiatives you have, as they are also the audience most likely to be interested. This may mean you don’t need to spend as much on advertising to meet your targets.
In the spirit of taking things more slowly, challenging yourself to do just one offer for Black Friday might be a great way to make a potentially daunting task into a manageable reality. You can also set up the main Black Friday page you’ll need quite far in advance. This can help you spread the workload while giving you the added bonus of search engine indexing — which could help traffic on the day.
Have you considered branching out to another social media channel? If you’re a Facebook guru, but your business has a beautiful product, you might consider Instagram as a new social channel. Likewise, if you have Instagram, but feel you want to say more to your customers, you might decide a Facebook account offers more linguistic dexterity. Perhaps even start a YouTube channel, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a presenter.
Check your rankings
A mini-task to help you prepare for the holiday season might be to assess your performance and rankings on Google for both your website and social media channels. This could help you identify areas for improvement, or reveal things you didn’t know about your social audiences.
Tasks like these could be ones you can look at when your everyday workload feels like too much — fun digressions to pepper the hum-drum routine for light relief. Similarly, planning a New Year launch party or another publicity event might be a way to conjure some energy. This brings us nicely onto daily motivation.
Day-to-day motivational strategies
Personal well-being is one thing, but it differs slightly from motivation. Here are some ideas to consider to help you when you’re feeling fine, but want to optimize your working day.
- Goal to break ratio – breaks are mandatory to achieve the real focus you need. Use them to motivate you through work. Setting timers is a great way to monitor this. Even if you choose to (or need to) ignore them, that sound will start to validate and quantify the time you’ve spent. If you’re anything like me, you’ll ignore it at first because you’re in the middle of something, but finish not too long after it goes off. It provides an ‘exit pass’.
- Variation – We touched on this above, but varying your tasks throughout the day — as they do for students in school — is a great way to stay focused for long periods. In a way, it’s odd that we lose this over our lives and start to repeat activities to the point where we simply can’t concentrate on them anymore. In almost all jobs, there needs to be some degree of variation.
- Consistency – Being consistent and forming a healthy routine can be a good strategy. It may not even be a one-day routine. I have used weekly routines in the past to enable greater focus throughout one day. Monday might be admin, more creative activities on Tuesday, and so on. This creates a similar balance to daily routines, but might be used where tasks are bigger, or require more time to ‘get in’ to them.
- Environment – There’s a whole blog to write on environment alone, but on a simplistic level, temperature, space, and the inclusion of music can really improve a work environment. Music could extend to podcasts you like to listen to in the background, but nothing too distracting.
- Let things go that are beyond your control – Understand when something is beyond your control, and let it go. This could be an upset customer, a lost parcel, a missed deadline: whatever it is, if it can’t be changed, or you’ve tried all you can to attempt to fix it, you have to be able to move on. Exercise damage control elsewhere if necessary — for example, if you’ve tried to speak to someone about their negative review and they won’t change it, focus on getting more positive reviews to bury it.
Don’t be afraid to keep changing
Not everything on this list will work for everyone. If one method doesn’t work, try others until you find your personal balance. There are also plenty of other articles online that go into greater detail on aspects we’ve touched upon. Perhaps this article has helped you tune into a personal trait or strategy that you previously were unable to define, and now you can seek out more information on that topic specifically.
You can also check out this blog, packed with more tips for staying motivated. Wishing you a healthy, and productive final quarter of 2021.