By Maria Valdez Haubrich
As the year winds down, some small business owners find they’re busier than ever (I’m talking to you, retailers and e-tailers). However, for other small business owners, this time of year is a welcome break from the go-go-go of the rest of the year. If you find yourself with spare time on your hands as clients and employees take time off, how can you make the most of the down time to get your business ready for an even better 2013? Here are some ideas.
Get organized. Take this time to get your files (digital and paper) in order, update your time management system, get rid of unnecessary items and generally get a grip on anything that’s out of order in your business. You’ll feel ready to take on the world when you’re organized.
Make a plan. Whether you set aside a day for your entire staff to pow-wow, or just take a day off to yourself, spend some time thinking strategically about what you want your business to achieve in the New Year and how you’ll get there. Let yourself dream big—then create a plan to make it happen.
Learn something new. Maybe there’s a software program you never quite got the hang of or a skill you’d like to get more comfortable with, like public speaking. You may not have time to master it before your business gets busy again, but sign up for a class or take an online course so you’re committed to learning the skill. Your business will be better for it.
Update your technology. Year-end bargains are to be had for all kinds of technology right now. Whether you’ve been contemplating a new smartphone or tablets for your sales staff, now is the time to take advantage of the deals available. Make sure that what you purchase will integrate with your existing systems, and work with your IT person to update software as well.
Do what you’ve been putting off. Maybe that’s writing a disaster plan or succession plan for your business, updating your business insurance or some other task that sounds unpleasant and boring. Take a first step toward accomplishing that task (call the insurance agent, for example) and you’ll find it’s a lot easier to finish the rest of it.
Take a break. It may be hard to let go of your business, but sometimes you need time off to truly recharge. This time of year, it’s easier than most to find a day, a weekend or even a whole week when you can delegate to someone else and disconnect from your business. You’ll be surprised how it re-energizes you.
Image by Flickr user dscblogphotos (Creative Commons)Google+