With the silly season just around the corner, I wanted to take some time out and discuss the most common ways I’ve seen business owners and managers drop the figurative ball in the lead up to the holiday season. While yes, it’s an important time and opportunity for you and your staff to let off some steam and recharge the organisation’s batteries, there’s also some essential factors in play that you can’t ignore simply because the holidays are upon us. This is quite often the differentiating point between average and exceptional organisations, so let’s discuss a few of the ways in which your organisation can capitalise on the lead-up to the holiday season and get some distance between you and your competitors.
Launching a holiday-specific marketing campaign.
While this point is dependent on your operations - if you’re a business-to-business operation, you might consider skipping to the next point - it’s a small but effective way to possibly bring in some last-minute cash to your organisation. If you’ve got a database of clients you can contact, perhaps a Christmas promotion with a discount would be effective. At the very least, you can contact this database and wish them well for the holiday season from your organisation, which adds integrity and personability to your organisation’s reputation.
Failing to look at the numbers
December is a special month in the year, arguably the most special to a number of people for a variety of reasons. While children around the year are preparing themselves for what Santa will bring, I’m a personal fan of December because it gives me an opportunity to compare and contrast our organisation’s numbers - those KPIs that help you measure specific outputs in your organisation - to get an idea of where you are in the marketplace. I’ve said time and again that taking the time out and allocating some of your organisation’s resources toward this is an essential part of succeeding as an organisation in the competitive world of business, and I truly believe that the organisations that take this seriously are gifting themselves a crucial opportunity that others are missing out on.
This is your chance to identify problem areas that you need to tackle head-on after the holiday break, or even implement a few strategies to bite off some work before your staff take their holiday break. Either way, if your organisation stays committed to analysing its numbers for both areas of opportunity and problems that need solutions, you’re better prepared for the challenges that the new-year will inevitably bring. From here, you can plan accordingly, and if your organisation has the time and resources available, or if the problems you’ve identified are significant, you could table a meeting to brainstorm some problem-solving techniques and possible strategies to turn problem areas around in the new-year.
Celebrating the Wins
It’s also important to recognise at this point that the people working in your organisation need some recognition and respect for their efforts throughout the year. It’s a battered cliche at this point, but great organisations are made up of great people, and those people need to let off some steam if they are to keep up their efforts. I’m not necessarily talking about a Christmas party here, either. Most managers recognise that having a staff party is essential, even obligatory. I’m talking more specifically about celebrating the wins inside your organisation on any given day in the lead-up to the holiday season. If your marketing department has worked hard in reaching their targets, they deserve to hear about it. If your finance department has turned problematic numbers around, management should be celebrating this. If your operations team is continuing to serve the public with a high-quality product or service, I believe that a great organisation should celebrate these on a daily basis to keep morale and productivity at high levels in the lead up to the holiday season.
Consider Your Action Plan for the New Year
Similar to what we were talking about in the previous points, highly effective organisations will have a new-year plan ready to go well ahead of the start of business following the holiday season. In the near future, we’ll cover a few different ways for your organisation to get prepared, but for now i’ll leave you with a quick mention of the importance of strategic planning sessions. If you can bite these off well ahead of time, and take time out to sit with key figures in your organisation to toss up an action plan for the near future - this only needs to encompass something like the next 1-to-3-months of your operations - you’re in a much more attractive and comfortable position as your organisation sails through the silly season.
Don’t forget that this is the time of year that people’s spending habits increase exponentially, so your organisation has the opportunity to bring in some end-of-year revenue to the table, depending on your operations, of course.