Do you think you’re ready for 2022? Not so fast. How do you mindfully and intentionally end your year on a great note? How can you use your downtime at the end of the year to be most prepared for a new year? We’re not in a rush. We’re taking time to re-examine, re-evaluate and ready ourselves to crush 2022. Today we’re going to talk about how we can make good use of and find the purpose in the pause associated with the end of the year.
Hey everyone, I’m Ian Campbell, CEO of Mission Suite. Before we jump into today’s video, do me a favor and hit the subscribe button and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos.
We are so close to the end of the year, and I’ll bet you’re ready to be done with it and start 2022. Not so fast; we still have some work to do to start in January with our best foot forward.
Today, I want to talk about using this time of year to reassess and clarify not just what you’re doing but also your “why” and “how.”
I like to think of this time of year as a time to take an intentional look at the last twelve months and get my mind right for 2022. We all go a thousand miles an hour all year trying to reach our goals; we likely haven’t stopped to take a look. So, I want to do that today. Let’s discuss how we can best use these last few weeks and days to close the year right and make the next even better.
Reexamine Your Brand and Your Goals
We all know that your brand is so vital to everything you and your company do. And keeping it consistent, authentic, and relevant could be a full-time job. But your brand isn’t necessarily set in stone. Keeping your brand relevant and top of mind will be critical to your longevity.
Thus, I can think of three reasons you should be taking time during the holiday pause each year – if not more often – to reexamine your brand and goals.
First, you want to stay alive. Brands that don’t listen to their customers and adapt to trends will perish. We’ve all seen it happen. I can think of dozens of brands that were once industry leaders that got left behind: J C Penney, Sears, Xerox, Blackberry, I could go on. Don’t be afraid to listen and adapt.
Second, you want to stay aligned. Keeping your brand and your goals in line is critical to your success. If your brand is philanthropic, but your goals are to make as much money as possible, your team and – more importantly, your audience will feel it and could walk away from your company want to make sure your goals and your brand stay aligned. Things change, and a shift in brand could alter your goals and vice versa.
Third, you can use this to build loyalty. Seeing your brand from your audience’s perspective gives you a chance to update your messages. Your customers want to know you are listening. And when they see your company responding to their needs, it will build loyalty.
If you’ve never taken the time to go through this exercise, I highly recommend that you do. And you’re in the right place to learn more about how to do it.
I would start with some questions for yourself, your team and even your customers if you can.
- How am I solving problems for my clients?
- Am I staying relevant?
- Am I innovating in the right ways?
- Do our brand values and our message resonate in a meaningful way?
- Is our brand known for being authentic and easy to work with?
You don’t have to waste a lot of time for no reason, but you should be open to adjustments that can keep you moving forward. Your brand won’t always need a complete overhaul but stay open to the exercise as you might have to implement a few tweaks.
As you examine your brand and your goals, take advantage of the data your C R M has been gathering for you all year. Mission Suite, for example, can help you look back at some of your messages over the last year and, more importantly, your engagement rates for those messages. Taking stock of how you communicated with your audience can help you refine messages for next year. If you find a message that didn’t land, you have a chance to rework that and try again. And when you see a message that did well, you can find a place to use it again.
While you’re diving a little deeper into your brand, don’t just check a box when it comes to your goals. Whether they are company goals, team goals or personal goals, they are all deeply rooted in your “why.” And, while thinking about these things is a valuable exercise, take it a step further and make some notes. These notes can be helpful all year long when you’re having a difficult moment of facing a new challenge.
Once your “why” is evident in your mind and on paper, don’t back away from making your goals as specific as possible. Making your goals specific is the best way to measure your success and stay focused. Likely you’ve heard of SMART goals – S for Specific, M for measurable, A for achievable, R for relevant and T for timely. Many companies use this method when setting goals because it is proven to keep teams motivated and accountable for reaching their goals.
Let’s say your goal is to make a million dollars. That’s a good goal, but it’s nebulous and might seem unattainable. If you can break that down to something like “I need ten new clients and 50 new contracts by the end of the first quarter,” then you are better able to take on those pieces and move towards your goal.
Long story short: taking this time before the new year begins to revisit your brand can help you keep your messages authentic. And revisiting your goals and your why will inspire and motivate you and your team.
While you’re taking advantage of this pause, you will also benefit from taking a closer look at your processes and procedures.
Get the Minutia of Your Business Back in Order
This is not just a time to think about the big picture things; you should take a look at some of the everyday processes that keep you moving forward.
Think about a time when you had a challenge within your organization. Could you benefit from some new processes or even just some adjustments to how you do business? Are your systems as effective and efficient as they could be? Chances are, you have room for some improvement.
This end-of-year pause could be the ideal time to make some changes. No system is perfect but working through a challenge while also staying on top of day-to-day business is not ideal. And that’s not to say that you have to change everything or anything, but a thoughtful look at your operations might help you eliminate repeated hiccups or trouble spots and make everyone more efficient.
Look at everything from sales procedures, accounting, fulfillment and yes, even your marketing.
This is an important task as I hear many clients say they wish they had spent this time setting up their automation for social media, email and more instead of just trying to get by with ad hoc solutions and band-aids.
Now is the time to look at how much time you are spending on outreach and capitalize on automation. Think about all the time you spend chasing leads and moving prospects through your funnel. Now is the time to adopt some intelligent automation and make your year smoother. Spending the time to get your C R M in order will give you that time back all year long. And one further note; any C R M is only as good as the information you put into it, so use this time to set yourself up for success and be certain that your C R M supports your goals and reinforces your brand.
Now grab your notebook and write down some issues or challenges you might have had and invest some time into solutions that make you better. Don’t be afraid to make changes where necessary. And don’t forget, if you continue just to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.
Up next, s bit more work, but this is fun work. Let’s talk about new clients and opportunities.
Research New Client and Project Opportunities
During your purposeful pause, plan to spend some time making notes about who your ideal client is. We have talked about this before, and it’s always worth revisiting. You can’t just set your line in the water and expect to be the best angler in the biz. You need to figure out your ideal fish and then meet them where they are.
Think about what attributes – demographics, industry, job title – your ideal client would have. Write those down and refer to them as you start to craft a plan to reach your goals. Focusing on your ideal is worth your time as it could drive your behavior and your marketing all year long.
After you have these demographics, do some research about finding and meeting these clients. Once you know your ideal client, it will become much easier to find corresponding opportunities. For instance, if you know you’d like to meet more contacts in the construction industry, you can start to look for events where you are more likely to meet construction people. Similarly, you can also begin to craft your marketing and outreach messages to best speak to that group.
Speaking of your outreach now is the time to put this research into better messages you can use all year long. Mission Suite can help you reach these segments with concise messages and save you time when you need it most. Marketing automation can be critical to helping you spend time where you need it.
Now that you’ve spent some quality time getting your brand, goals, and processes in order. It’s officially ‘you’ time.
Take Care of Your Own well Being
Everyone and everything need rest; this is a fact. Nothing can successfully run forever without taking time to rest and repair, from the most expertly crafted machines to the strongest athletes. And that means that you have to give yourself time to unplug, relax and recharge. So, before you eagerly dive into another year of crushing your goals, take a break. I don’t mean just getting a good night’s sleep, but intentional time away from work.
Get mindful and take a day, a week, or a month to give yourself time to recharge. Understanding your own needs – and knowing how and when to turn off from work can make you stronger, healthier, and better prepared for the next challenge. Medical experts, business leaders and experts from various industries all agree on the long- and short-term benefits of “unplugging.”
The next question is “how.” How do you take a break?
We all have our methods for getting a break from work; take a walk, turn off your phone, read a book, go to the spa, whatever. The important thing is that you are intentional in getting some rest. And also plan to get the same kind of rest all year long. So, find what helps you unwind and be available for that all year. Get out of your head and recharge. Studies show that you’ll return to work and be more focused and more productive.
Be Ready to Go on the First Day
In general, I would guess that most of us don’t look forward to the first day back at work. It can be exhausting to think about. But if you have truly, thoughtfully taken time to care for yourself and your team, you’ll be great.
Personally, I can tell you that nothing is as satisfying as being well-rested and supremely prepared. And, once you’ve done your homework and learned some lessons from 2021, that could be you!
Day one will also go a lot smoother if you can get into the right mindset. Don’t dread it, face it head on with zeal. Positive thinking can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Just remember, you did the work, you can now reap the rewards. Imagine your first day back at work after the New Year – no stress, concrete goals in mind, exuding confidence, you’ll be unstoppable!
If you heard anything here that you’d like to talk more about or have questions, please reach out. I’d be thrilled to help you and your team tackle 2022.
Hey I hope you got something out of this video.
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We’ll see you next time around!