This time of year many are focused on the holidays, giving gifts to special customers and rewarding employees for the past year. I would suggest that this is the time to put something else on your “list”- a gift to your company. As we close out the year, here are some suggestions for things you should consider.
Research and Resources
In the past we have asked customers for feedback on performance and solicited comments on services we should consider. While this is a good way to get information it is not always the best. I recently contracted with a firm to do some customer research. They interviewed clients in a much more scientific manner, aggregated responses and then showed us the direct correlation between what we provide and what customers want. Fortunately, we were pretty much in sync. However, there were some surprises. First, our customers want to see more of us. I assumed that they are so busy that they don’t want to be bothered if we are not in the midst of a project. Quite the opposite was true. We also discovered that they would be willing to help us grow and promote our firm to others. That’s a big gift – one that keeps on giving. Also consider what resources your company needs to be successful this next year. Do you need more talent? Equipment? A better extended team of outside experts? All of this will help position you for 2017.
If you are in a service business you notice customers are in holiday mode. They are too busy to meet, so it is a good time to get organized or reorganized. This includes things like cleaning out files – digital or otherwise. Getting documents scanned to reduce the clutter, year-end reports, and doing changeovers to new systems is time consuming. Doing it now makes you more efficient and ready to hit the ground running after the New Year. This is also a good time to do some strategic thinking with your team about goals for next year. Have a half-day retreat or meet with employees who you have not connected with enough. Take the time to catch up on your reading or do research on customers you want to attract.
A Fresh Face
What about your company is a little outdated? Is it your facility? Your marketing materials? Your attitude? This is the time to start fresh. Anything that needs updating deserves some attention and thought. While you might not be able to complete these projects during the season you can at least make plans and find the resources you need.
Too often we forget to celebrate the accomplishments of our companies as a whole. This year, my company turned 30! At a time when many companies are struggling to survive a start-up or move to a second stage business, we are very fortunate to be in a good place. We have the best team in the history of the company. We have clients who appreciate our partnership. The gift of celebration is great for the organization. Make a timeline of milestones the company has achieved. Reach out and thank those who have contributed to your success. In short, have fun and celebrate. After all, it is the holiday season.
When you make that gift list, don’t forget your own company. It deserves a little something special, too.