Stay Productive During the Holidays
It’s that time of year. There are holiday open houses, luncheon get-togethers and company parties. While retail operations are in full swing many service businesses like mine find that this is a difficult time of year when it comes to productivity. There are lots of reasons. Customers are trying to get ready for the holidays or wrap up the year so many projects get stalled. They are also reluctant to start new projects. Employees are busy trying to attend family holiday events or prepare for visits. Some are trying to get in vacation time before they lose it. With all of the distractions how can you keep your business on track and productive? It isn’t easy but here are a few ideas for how to make the best use of your time.
Have you been trying to find time to learn that new software program, attend a webinar, catch-up on the latest industry news? Now is the time. I have an electronic file of articles that I don’t have the time to read. I start collecting them in the fall and this is my time to read them. It’s true that some are no longer important, but many are. I also have a pile of “must-read” books that finally will be read. We have a subscription to on-line learning classes. The service we use is www.lynda.com and it offers a wide variety of classes. My employees use it to brush up on everything from WordPress to graphics programs using the tutorials. The idea is to use this downtime to learn something new that helps us continually improve.
Hold a company retreat or brainstorming session. So many business owners tell me they are too busy to plan. Take a topic or two and engage your employees to “think with you.” A few of the things we have taken up are staffing levels, review of customer accounts and equipment that we might want to purchase. Set an agenda and ask the employees to do a little research before the meeting to be sure that you can have a good discussion.
Reorganize the Office
It is amazing how little attention we pay to the office environment. We are so busy doing the work that we forget that the office is a tool that helps us to be productive and profitable. Take a look around and see if your business has experienced change that requires adjustment to the workplace. Do an assessment to see if you have some technology needs that are not being met. Maybe, you just need to de-clutter or freshen up the space. Now is the time to try out a new configuration or add technology because customers are not in and out of your space
Many times small business owners get caught in the trap of taking whatever business comes in the door. The quiet time during the holidays is the time to get online and do research into companies that you want to target. I have even drafted e-mails to prospects that I will send after the holidays. I also take time to look at existing customer’s websites to see what they are doing that might be turned into new opportunities for discussion or business.
It is easy to say that nothing gets done during the holidays because the phone isn’t ringing and many are on vacation. The truth is that a lot can get accomplished because you might finally have the time to tackle important projects that get pushed aside at other times of the year. One more thing you can do. Take some time off. Then you will be more productive when you return.