In this article I will talk about some of the activities you can do to get ready for Q1 2022.  There are five in total, each with a bit of context about why they’re important.  It’s very usual that businesses ease off at Christmas, then get all over excited in January.  It’s like it at the gym too, on the morning I wrote this one lady said to one chap “it’s going to be crazy soon, January’s coming” to which the chap responded “yeah, but they’ll be gone by Valentine’s Day”.

Don’t allow your business to get New Year fever only for the enthusiasm to slide before Spring has arrived!  With my clients we always work one quarter at a time with one eye on the longer term plan.  There’s a reason behind the 3 month cycle and it works.

Here we go then, 5 things to help you get ready for Q1 2022.

#1 Time Management

Not a lot of value in telling clients to manage time more effectively, most people could be more efficient in some areas of their lives.  I know I get genuine excitement from being early for a meeting rather than just on time!  Since 2019 many people have become much more aware of where they spend their time, and are more conscious about how they spend it.  In addition, the phrase “Time Millionaire” is gaining traction as the younger generations are starting to value time over money (which is also interesting as the generation who also are so effective at wasting time staring at a screen).

What is my point here..  Well to get into a situation where you are managing your time well you HAVE to measure what you’re spending your time doing.  It’s not an easy thing to do, but you MUST crowbar some in your calendar for a proper review.  Don’t keep putting it off for “this other thing that’s really important”.  If you manage multiple teams it’s the same thing again, get them to measure where time is being spent.

Once you’ve measured what your business is spending time doing, you then need to move onto the next stages.

#2 A plan

When it comes to planning, this is where I love the job I do.  There’s no such thing as a perfect plan, or the “completed it mate” scenario.  A plan is evolving, ever living and should be reviewed regularly to help drive your business forward.  This can be a really intensive process if you allow it to be.  You also need to be careful that you allow some parts to be fluid, other parts have to be rigid.  There’s so much to talk about here, I’m happy to grab a coffee and talk about it!  In addition, every plan needs a tool and if you look on the website you’ll see a download request for the one pager I use.

With your plan it needs to look far away, look at where you want your business to be, then look at how you’re going to get there.  Remember again this doesn’t need to be perfect and it’s feasible to make “having a plan” one of your objectives for the first quarter, so long as you have steps and activities to make it happen.  That takes me nicely on to step 3, there is no point in having a plan without:

#3 Commitment

The best plans in the world are very easy to put in a drawer, move out of the way for the lovely new shiny bit of tech or next big customer enquiry.  A large part of what I do with clients is create that level of commitment or accountability.  It’s rare that I do any of the actual work for clients.  My work is making sure there are steps in place for clients to do the work that’s taking their business to the next level.

Of course, this is my article and I’m going to highly recommend me to help create that accountability in your business.  If you aren’t a fan of how I work, that’s fine too.  You could create that accountability internally (be careful to make sure there is a clear line between accountability and blame though).  You could use a peer group, a family member or your neighbour.  Whoever you chose, make sure the reviews on your plans are productive.  Make sure any negatives are reviewed and learned from as well as supporting the positives.

#4 Review value

With each of the previous steps I’ve not touched on what should actually be in your plan.  How do you make sure you’re working on the right things?  Sometimes you won’t know, but then you need to create a plan to explore something rather than put all your eggs in one basket with minimal information.

What I must recommend though is that you review the value of all the activities to make a conscious decision on what to do and when.  There should probably be a whole other blog to discuss how to measure value.  Just be aware that value doesn’t need to just be pounds and pence.  Sure you need to have a sustainable business, but sometimes you have to look at removing something that generates income to create the space for growth in another area.

The biggest question to ask your business, and the staff in it is “What is important”.  A lot of the time the answer I get back is:

#5 More time off

It’s often the case that business owners I meet would like more time off.  When we get to exploring that though, most business owners don’t really want to just put there feet up and do nothing.  It’s highly likely that retirement is just an age to draw down a pension, rather than rolling the shutters down and saying that’s all folks.

Time off usually means switching their brain off.  Creating the capacity and space to just enjoy the here and now.  Those who were employees before running their own business recall the time they were an employee and felt shackled to the business.  But then the same happens with their own business.  They end up never switching off, always clearing the crisis, chasing the thing that needs chasing, wondering if all this effort is worth the aggravation.

Time off usually means control.  Which you can create.  If you’re able to work through steps 1-4, this 5th one is the recognition that you’ve got the same business, running happier and more efficiently which presents you with time.  Permission (not that you need it), is it’s OK to take time out, do things you love to do.

So many times you’ll read an article or attend a webinar by an expert only to walk away with a bigger to do list than when you started.  Granted, I’ve given a lot of activity that you can complete above.  I’d like to think that if you can make the time to follow these steps you will get time back.  You will get the control and freedom from the business that you deserve.

Plus, when you take time out you think more clearly.  You start to have ideas and get creative.  It’s common that clients also report growth when they’re taking time out.  The age old adage that the phone only starts ringing when you stop staring at it!