We’ve now entered the 4th quarter (Q4), and some of us are excited about getting close to the end of what may not have been a great year, while others want the success they’ve experienced this year to continue. Either way, Q4 is the perfect time to enhance what is going right and extend to the new year or reflect on things that might have been a disappointment and take what you learned to start fresh in an adjusted direction.
The key is to lay out a plan to keep you on track and then begin implementing. You will be surprised at how much satisfaction you will get simply by performing these tasks and then checking them off your list.
To follow are some suggested proactive steps you can take to make way for a prosperous new year.
Offer Discounts or Incentives
Whether you serve consumers or other businesses, taking advantage of the holidays as a backdrop is a great way to get attention. Start with your website by including discounts or incentives that have an expiration date. Not sure what will get attention? Talk to some of your customers or clients and ask them what would drive them to purchase more products or increase the level of service with you.
Make your website a bit more festive to appeal to everyone to help pass along that holiday spirit. Make full use of your social media and email marketing to drive them to your website or physical store.
And as always, make the extra effort to provide superb customer service along with the best products or professional attention.
Show Your Customers and Employees You Care
We all have good intentions about making an effort to thank and show our appreciation at the end of the year. But, how many times have you been overwhelmed at the last minute and you weren’t able to make it as special as you wanted? Be prepared in advance by planning now, and you’ll reduce your level of stress.
Without your customers/clients and employees who keep the ship moving, your business wouldn’t succeed. And don’t forget to recognize the vendors and freelancers, if applicable, as they allow you to continue functioning as a business.
And remember, demonstrating that you appreciate the people who matter doesn’t need to break the bank. With advance planning, you’re able to be creative in your thinking and provide gifts or incentives that make it more personal and have more meaning. Some suggestions are:
- Give employees an additional day off to be used during the following year, with advance notice following your official policy.
- Dinner for two at your client’s favorite restaurant is always more personal and shows you’re paying attention.
- Do you have a good customer who regularly purchases an item that you have in inventory? Send it as a gift because you know you’ll be on target with something they’ll appreciate.
Learn From Your Past Blunders
Everyone has areas where they wish they managed differently. Some examples are:
- How you resolved a customer issue. Did you handle it in a manner that escalated the problem? Set up a script to include multiple options based on the nature of the challenge and share with your customer service team. If you’re the person in charge of that, keep it handy so that you ensure a better outcome.
- Do you have a service that returns very little profit? Take time to look at how that looks and where it each part breaks down. For example, are you performing too many tasks out of scope but not charging for them? If you’re working on a project and you see it beginning to go off course, talk to the client to either get back on track or understand that they will have additional billing. Be very clear from the beginning, and both you and your client will appreciate the open communication and be conscious of the time spent.
The above are just a few ways you can set yourself up for success in the new year. Start now so that you’re not overwhelmed and can hit the ground running for a fresh, exciting, and successful NEW YEAR!
And remember – no plan is set in stone. Set up a Plan B if needed and chalk it up to another positive learning experience for next time.