The holidays are typically slow at many companies. The lack of business can seem daunting to ambitious, always-on-the-go entrepreneurs. Colin Sprake, motivational business speaker and author of the upcoming book The Entrepreneur Success Recipe (Morgan James Publishing, 2013) says the best way to avoid anxiety during the holidays is to be prepared.
"Many entrepreneurs don't plan for slower periods, this adds a huge amount of stress over the holiday season and often has the entrepreneur living a life of anxiety and fear rather than one of enjoyment with family and friends," says Sprake. He offers these six tips to make use of your holiday downtime.
1. Reflect on the year. "[The holidays are] a time of reflection on where your business is going," says Sprake. Review marketing, sales and profit strategies, reflect upon what worked and what didn't, what you can improve upon, which products and services were profitable and which were not so you can enter the new year prepared to tackle the problem areas of your business.
2. Set goals. Just as you make New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight or eat healthier, take advantage of your business downtime to set some goals for your business over the next 12 months. Be sure to place your goals somewhere accessible so you can review them on a regular basis and evaluate your progress.
3. Invest in your intellectual capital. Take the time to read a great business book and get some ideas to improve the areas where you’re lacking. You can also use the slow time to research courses and workshops you may want to attend in the New Year.
4. Take time off. "It’s vital for entrepreneurs to take time away from their business and recharge their batteries," says Sprake. Taking time away helps to relieve stress, avoid burn out and will have you returning in the New Year feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything thrown your way.
Related: How to Banish Holiday Stress
5. Get personal chores done. A strong personal foundation is essential to propel your business forward. Take advantage of your downtime to schedule your annual dental and eye exams and get any personal chores such as cleaning out the garage or organizing your home office out of the way so they don’t add to your stress later in the year when your phone is ringing off the hook.
6. Thank your support network. While we often take time to thank clients for their business, Sprake says it's equally important to show gratitude to family. "Your family supports you through the thick and thin of your business," says Sprake, who hosts a gratitude dinner for his family around the holidays to thank them for helping him achieve his business successes.