Holiday break is a good time to reflect

From about December 25 until January 7 or so and in some parts of the world for an even longer time, businesses tend to slow down substantially and in some cases come to a grinding halt. For many entrepreneurs this is a very boring and frustrating time because entrepreneurs want to work and develop their business. It is nearly impossible to deny that it is occurring because there is no one to see, call or email out there. It’s like the whole world has temporarily quit their job and in fact, that is sort of what has happened. There are however, things that you can do to make this odd down time productive and enable you to be less bored in the process.

The first thing you can do is finally work through those old stacks of paper or other tasks that you have shelved for months as they were not time sensitive but do need to eventually be dealt with. Keep in mind that not everything can be caught up on during this time, especially anything that involves other people as they are likely to be gone.

Once you have done that, I think the best use for this time is to reflect about your business. You can look back at where you were at the beginning of the year to where you are now and see if you have come along as you expected or if you have not quite reached where you had hoped to be. If you are where you thought you’d be in the beginning of the year or even better than expected, that is great but do not let up. Look forward to 2010 and see where you want to be one year from now. Try to use some numbers and figures to help set goals. Then, formulate a strategy for attaining these expectations. You may already have a strategy in place that you plan on maintaining and that’s fine as long as when you plug in that strategy you can see that it is capable of yielding the results you’re looking for in 2010.

If your year has not gone as well as you planned at the outset of 2009, explain to yourself why this occurred. I think many people are in this category this year due to the economy alone. Regardless of the reasons, be honest with yourself as to why things did not go as you would have liked. Then, tweak your plan and make adjustments that build on the mistakes that were made during this past year. You should also set goals for next year with numbers and figures but, put a special emphasis on how you think you can achieve those figures. Perhaps a change in the way you market your product or service or maybe the amount of time that is allocated to things other than sales. If where you are is no where near where you thought you would be 12 months ago, then do not be afraid to look at drastic changes. Maybe something like altering the product or service to fit a different application or maybe get out of the current business all together and look at other opportunities, even though that would be a tough, but perhaps necessary choice.

Looking inward in to your business and reflecting honestly about it is actually very important and is often difficult to do during any other time of the year. It will help set your priorities for the upcoming year and learn from the mistakes you made during the past year. It will also remind you why you are doing this and will make you feel inspired and energized going in to the next year which is something that most people do not feel on the first day back to work after a 2 week vacation. I really believe that this can help you have a good start to the year and can carry on throughout the year.