This is the blog transcript of our video “How to Use the End of the Year to Grow Your Business”. If you’d like to see more of our videos, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here.
Are you dreading the end of the year? Are you frustrated thinking about how you can make the last weeks of the year impactful? In this episode, we’ll cover some tools and tactics to help you get the most out of the rest of the year, end on a great note and start 2022 fresh.
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.
Yes, the end of the year is approaching. And to put it mildly, it’s been a long year. While most of us are tempted to close our laptops and get to the merry-making, there is still important work to be done. But before you groan or roll your eyes, watch today, and we’ll talk about some tools and tactics you can use right now to help you get the most out of the rest of this year, possibly add to your goals and start 2022 with a fresh perspective and a healthy network.
The end-of-year ritual is not just symbolic; it is absolutely required for you to close the year on a high note and to start fresh in January. You worked hard all year, and you owe it yourself to do more than just add up your wins and move on. You deserve a deliberate recap of your year and a fresh start on a new year.
So, today, I’d like to talk a bit about how you can best end your year. It should be no surprise that your end of the year also includes some homework. Pick up a notebook and grab a pen because you’ll be making some notes.
Let’s dive in.
Take the Time
I know, I know, this time of year, everyone’s schedule is just packed through the holidays; you want to wrap up, get some rest, make it to a holiday happy hour and still find time to enjoy the season. But you should find time for yourself for an hour, 90 minutes or even more to recap and get ahead for 2022. Everything we talk about today will be well worth your time.
First, look back over your year – go through your calendar, your meetings, deals you worked on, notes you’ve made, anywhere you can recall specific parts of your year.
Think about your successes over the last 12 months and make notes about what worked, how you landed that fantastic new deal or client or how you won this year. These notes will come in handy when you find yourself in a spot that is less than ideal.
Next – and this can be slightly uncomfortable – you should spend an equal amount of time reflecting on things that didn’t go quite right, your challenges and hiccups and, well, your failures. I know no one wants to look back and remember when they lost, but this can – in all honesty – put you ahead for the next challenge. Think through your process and try to determine what was missing or where your missteps might have been. This exercise can help you not to make those mistakes again and give you direction if you find yourself in a similar situation again.
Of course, just like Dwight told the temp, “Not everything is a lesson, sometimes you just fail” there was likely a time or two when you just failed. Don’t dwell too long on the bad stuff, as you can’t change the past. And while It is not a crime to make a mistake, making the same mistake twice without learning from it is a gaff you likely can’t afford.
Last, and possibly most important, take time to put some processes in place. Remember all of those things that you were just too busy for all year? Was there a time when you thought, “I wish I had more time for ‘blank?’ Well, spend some time thinking about how you can develop processes now to get you through those times. Documented procedures turn into habits, and habits that move your business forward are pretty critical to success.
Keeping track of your contacts all year can be a daunting task, which can be made easier with a C R M like Mission Suite. Make time now to not only set up your sales funnel but enter your referral partners here to keep track of where your leads are coming from. At the end of next year, I’m sure you’ll have a much easier time keeping track of this important information.
Trust me, the time you spend on this now will pay off all year long in 2022. Do your future self a favor, so you don’t have to just “get by” when time is tight.
Honestly, there are so many reasons to stop and truly reflect on the year; you just have to be available for it. Celebrate your success, learn from the failure, think of how you can run a tight ship in 2022 and get some rest – you’re gonna need it.
Where can you do more?
While you’re assessing your work year, take a look at your world as a whole and ask some hard questions. You’re not just an employee; you’re a person with relationships, hobbies and interests beyond your job. Think about where you spent your time this year and where you’d like to spend more of it in 2022. While this isn’t a strictly work-related question, it is vital to make the most of your 2022.
Ask yourself where you could have given more time, more attention, and TLC and keep that in your mind as you shape your next year. Make some notes about it, too, so if you find yourself stuck or in a tight spot, you can look back and get some much-needed perspective.
This is definitely a tiny move, but this homework will help you. We can’t always see the solution when we are in the middle of a situation, so taking time now to make those notes could be your saving grace.
This is another spot where a C R M like Mission Suite can help you get the most from your contacts. You have access to data about where you spent time and effort and which clients make the most efficient journey. This data can also help you refine your process and potentially put more time back on your calendar.
Talk about it
Tell everyone what your end-of-year plan is – whether you hope to close two more deals or 100 more. I can think of at least two great reasons to let your colleagues and friends know what you’re up to. First, you are making yourself accountable to those goals. No one wants to have to confess that they couldn’t get it done, right? So, by letting everyone know, you are essentially making them your accountability buddy.
Second, you never know when someone will hear something or learn about something that can help you. And if you’re not spreading the word about your year-end plan, that something will likely not make its way back to you. By telling your posse what you’re up to, you’re putting them on alert for a deal or client or bit of info that you might be able to use.
So often, I hear people talk about their goals, and they also say, ‘don’t tell anyone or ‘I’m not telling anyone, and I think this is a big mistake. Tell everyone about your goals because you never know who could wind up helping you out because they know your plans.
I really don’t like the term “low hanging fruit” because it feels a little degrading, but I do think everyone should take time and close those deals that are a ‘sure thing.’ Why wait until next month or next year to get that done? Not only will this potentially add to your goals, but it could also give you a little confidence boost that could carry you to 2022.
And, while we’re talking about ‘low hanging fruit,’ take a good look at some of those clients and deals that go smoothly and efficiently. What about these deals is so easy? Get out your notebook and write down some aspects of those deals to help you through a more complicated deal. Yes, no two sales or clients are the same, but if you can learn from your mistakes, you can also learn from your successes.
Reach Out to EVERYONE
Likely, you already have a plan to send messages to your clients; that’s pretty standard. But there is much more to outreach.
Yes, reach out to your best clients and your most successful relationships as you close your year. You don’t have to gush emotion, but it is not a bad idea to let people know how they have helped you, how much you enjoy their company, what you’ve learned from them and thank them for contributing to your success. Make sure the people who mean the most to you know it.
Also, those business cards you’ve been collecting for a year – at least? Put those into your CRM now and send a note. Even though some might not be a good fit to be your next great client, they can become good partners or referral sources. The fact is, you never know, so don’t dismiss those people so soon. Send a note to everyone you met; people you met at a networking event, the client who ended up not working with you, the friend of a co-worker you met once, a colleague who introduced you to a great client, etc.
Just send a quick note to keep the lines of communication open and that you’re grateful for the relationship. Honestly, I’ve had some great leads come from the most unlikely places. You just never know where the next greatest thing will come from, so a brief but honest note is a great idea. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, but write a few lines like:
“It was a pleasure to meet you this year. I hope our paths will cross again in 2022.”
This can help you stand out, too. While everyone is scurrying around and trying to close up and get home for eggnog and Santa, you took the time to send a nice note. People remember these small things.
Pro-tip: this task gets even more efficient if you have a sold CRM, like Mission Suite, working for you.
And while you’re reaching out, don’t forget to send some holiday love to your network. If you rely on your network as I do, they could use some holiday cheer from you. And a holiday note feeds these essential relationships.
Ask. And then Listen
It’s one thing for you to look back at your year and make notes, but asking your team can give you fantastic insight. Think about it; your team and your co-workers – and possibly even clients – could provide you with thoughts on your methods and techniques that you would never have thought of.
A formal peer review or sometimes called a “360 review,” is a reliable tool to help you identify blind spots, evaluate your contributions, and provide feedback from the people you see every day – not just your boss. If your company doesn’t offer this, think about asking your peers if they can give you some notes. I know you’re probably perfect and don’t need that, but do it anyway.
You will be surprised by how others see you and the great advice you can get from someone doing the same or similar job as you.
Get Clear on Your WHY
This might feel a little unnatural, but year-end is a great time to get to know and or reassess your “WHY.”
Many people get into a routine and lose sight of – or never knew – their WHY. Knowing why you do the work that you do gives you authenticity and integrity. And, as we have discussed, being authentic is part of you and your brand’s story. This carries a lot of weight with your clients and potential clients.
So, yea, it’s a little important.
One of the cornerstones of your success is knowing your purpose. Some questions you should consider your WHY include
- What are your strengths, and what are your weaknesses?
- What about your life gives you the most enjoyment?
- What do you think you bring to your role and your company that no one else can?
This exercise might feel a little quirky, but trust me that knowing and remembering your WHY can drive you to achieve and help you make better decisions.
And, of course, if you can’t get to your WHY you might have to ask yourself a few more challenging questions.
Take Time for You
Last but not least, get some real rest. Take time for yourself, hydrate and rest up because you’re getting ready to do it all over again, but better. We can’t stop the calendar, but we can make sure we arm ourselves with the best tools.
Hey I hope you got something out of this video.
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We’ll see you next time around!