I don’t know about where you are, but fall is officially here in New York. The air is crisper, the leaves are changing, and it’s finally boot and sweater season!
I love long, lazy summer days, but once I start to feel that fall snap in the air, I start to feel excited. Author Gretchen Rubin says that September is the new January, and I have to agree! Fall is a perfect time to reassess what’s working and what’s not in your business, and set yourself up for success for the next “work year”.
Loving the idea of a fresh start for fall? Click here to download my Fall Focus Planner, which will help guide you toward success!
The summer slowdown
If you’ve been in business for a while, you may have heard of the “summer slowdown.” Unless you have some kind of seasonal business, many businesses find that summer months in business are normally slower. Sometimes our motivation is lower, our partners and customers are on vacation, and things naturally slow down.
And that is actually a GOOD thing.
We weren’t made to work at full speed the full year. Europeans are known for taking off the entire month of August to relax and recharge, and I think they have the right idea. Maybe you can’t take off an entire month yet, but a slower summer is often just what we need to come back to center and feel reenergized.
Time to fall back into gear.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I just got back from an incredible trip to Italy where Devin and I were able to enjoy some down time, connect, and refuel.
But now that summer is over, it’s time to dial it up and hit it hard.
As soon as those Pumpkin Spice Lattes hit the coffee shops, I know it’s time to get ready for the end of the year selling season.
Whether you have a physical product or a service-based business, the fourth quarter of the year is often one of the busiest times. You may find you have a lot of last-minute projects, team members taking time off, holiday or closeout sales… At the same time, your customers are shopping for the holidays, or stocking up, or getting ready for the new year — and as business owners, we want to be poised to take advantage of that energy and use it to grow.
5 actions you can take today to be ready for fall:
The best thing you can do for yourself and your business in order to hit the ground running for fall is to mark off some time in your calendar to do some strategic planning. That way, you won’t feel overwhelmed as you head into this busy season, and will know exactly what to do, when, and why.
- Review the year so far.
Start your strategic planning session with a review of your year so far. What were some of your wins? What didn’t go as well as you’d hoped? Were there any projects you wanted to get to that haven’t happened yet? I suggest setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and just free writing a list or a few paragraphs about what’s happened so far this year. It helps tremendously to get clarity about where you want to go from here.
- Set your goals.
What do you want to accomplish before the end of the year? Into next year? Set some short and long-term goals. Pay particular attention to how you will measure your success with these goals. Instead of a vague goal like, “Blowout holiday sales,” be specific and set goals you can track like, “Double my holiday sales revenue over last year.”
Don’t forget personal goals, as well. You might have a goal of taking two weeks off at Christmas, or getting all your holiday shopping done by December 1. Whatever is important to you, add it to the list.
- Break down action steps.
Once you have your goals set and know how you will measure your success, you can work backwards and define what the action steps are to get there. Try to get as small and specific as you can. For example, “Create Facebook ads,” might be too general. You might need to break it out into, “Write Facebook ad copy, make graphics, program ads,” in order to get it done.
One tip I like to use is to make a note of how long I think each task will take. That helps tremendously with the scheduling step.
- Check your resources.
Once you have a solid list of what needs to happen, think about what resources you have and which you may need to accomplish your goals. What do you need to make it all happen? New team members? New skills — or the courses or coaches to acquire them? New technology or software? Accountability partners, coaches, or groups?
It’s also a good time to think about what you can delegate. Which items can you outsource, and which items must you do yourself?
- Schedule and delegate.
The best way to make your goals and priorities real is to schedule them. Pull out your calendar — whether digital or on paper — and start penciling in all the action steps you identified.
This is where things can get sticky. You may need to go back and reassess your goals; what can you actually achieve with the time and resources you have available? This step is vital because it helps you understand exactly how you’re going to make your dreams happen.
Remember: there’s always more than one way to address a problem. If you don’t have time to accomplish all your action steps, you may be able to outsource, streamline, or focus your efforts differently.
Once you have a clear vision of your goals for the end of the year — and beyond into the new year — you can see exactly how to make them happen.
Don’t be afraid to dream big! Fall is full of possibilities. Any goal you can dream up can be made reality. Set yourself an audacious goal and then work backwards to discover what you would need to do to make it happen.
Don’t forget to download your Fall Focus Planner — it’s a wonderful workbook we’ve put together for you to answer all these important questions for yourself in one place, and get started planning your best fall ever.
Nature may be winding down for the year, but we’re just getting started!