"Strategies exist to help keep the success thundering into the New Year, and we’re sharing some here."
Even with a smooth, successful year under your business’ belt, the transition between one year and the next can be a roadblock to continuing your momentum of success. It’s easy to relax during the annual December lull, but then people are out for the holidays, and it’s a new fiscal year, and suddenly January arrives, with everyone catching up and few new prospects to engage the team. This scenario is common among all industries, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do business. Strategies exist to help keep the success thundering into the New Year, and we’re sharing some here.
First, review all strategies the business implemented in the past year and assess how they performed. How well did the marketing initiatives work this year? What new strategies led to success for the sales team? If any new software or vendors were brought in, their efficacy should also be assessed. If you’ve been having a great year, figure out why. When you have that concrete idea of how your business performed this year, you can make educated decisions when planning your tactics for the next.
With holiday vacations and New Year’s rounding out the year, most businesses take at least a partial break from operations in the later part of Q4. It’s a great feeling to leave the office for the holidays with everything all wrapped up, but if there aren’t at least a few new opportunities to keep nurturing, a slow first quarter might follow. When you wait till January to find January’s business, you’re going to be playing some catch up. Starting to chase business for January in October doesn’t just mean you’ll be prepared, it also means you’ll have plenty of time to get to know the client and ensure everyone is prepared to take on the job.
Despite our very best individual efforts to keep momentum, the economy in general tends to slow during Q1 of any year. It can be tempting to cozy up and adopt a more relaxed work ethic, but not finishing off everything you have on the back-burner means some things never get done. Use the slower times to revisit some older plans or intentions that you didn’t have time for during the busy season, like reviewing new marketing strategies, educating yourself further by reading up on industry news or attending seminars, or even updating office décor. Make a to-do list of everything you’ve been putting off, and put everything off no longer. This is guaranteed to spark some kind of movement to get Q1 rolling.
Managing cash flow is a big deal at the end of Q4, especially when it comes to the details. If your business is on an accrual tax basis, you must claim expected income from work completed in December on your taxes, even though you may not collect payment until January . There are many ways owners or managers can work around this issue, but it does require diligence and attention to these details in advance at key points like contract negotiation or talking with an accountant or tax professional.
"Mastering the transition into the new year involves taking proactive measures to build a bridge to the new year, not simply leaping over the gap and making do wherever you happen to fall."
Q4 is not a time for stagnant waiting on the coming year, and Q1 isn’t an time for lamenting that the holidays have passed and muddling your way through the rest of winter, whatever that looks like where you are. Mastering the transition into the new year involves taking proactive measures to build a bridge to the new year, not simply leaping over the gap and making do wherever you happen to fall.