The last month of each year usually breezes by in a frenzy of holiday parties, gift-giving exchanges, unusually heavy traffic, and the like. It’s easy to get lost in the mad rush. But before you head off to your company Christmas party and into the holiday break, here’s a simple guide to making the most of another business year-end.
Look Back on Your Goals and Plans. Whether as a business, employer, employee, or freelancer, you probably started the year with a goal in mind and a plan in place. Right? Whether or not you wrote them down, you need to review and check what were accomplished, what worked, what had to be adjusted and why, etc. Be transparent and thorough in this process. Check out the areas where you stayed on track and where you strayed. Analyze the reasons for both minor and major wins and setbacks. The information that you gather from this review is crucial for you and your business to move forward with greater chances of success.
Do a Performance Review. As you review the performance of your business, don’t forget, too, to review the performance of the people working in it. This applies even if you work for yourself. Be honest about your accomplishments and your failures. Identify areas where you did well and areas for improvement, with specific action points on how to continue your good standing and/or modify certain behaviors that need adjustment.
Celebrate What Went Well! Too often, were focused on problems—what went wrong, who’s at fault, and how to make things right. While this is a good crisis-aversion strategy, it can sometimes mean we forget to highlight the good things. What better time to celebrate the accomplishments and people behind our success than the holidays? You don’t need a fancy awards night or formal recognition ceremony to make this happen—although those don’t hurt. Sometimes, a simple acknowledgement and/or simple token can go a long way. (And if you’re a freelancer, feel free to celebrate yourself, too!)
Say Thanks. The end of the year represents another cycle of hard work, collaboration, and mutual benefit between employers, employees, coworkers, and clients. To all the people you work with and for, don’t forget to express your gratitude for the year that was, and your eagerness to work with them again in the coming year.
Plan for the Year Ahead. Get a head-start in January by coming up with a goal and a plan (or at least, drafts) for the next year. You can hash these out with your team at the start of the year. Or better yet, gather round and try to complete your goal-setting and planning before you take the holiday break. Trust us: it will be so much better to come back to the office in January already with a clear direction in mind.
Get Your Affairs in Order. Like we said earlier, the holiday rush is real. It can drain you physically and mentally if you fail to prepare and focus. As early as the start of the month or even before that, make sure that all your year-end documents, payables, receivables, etc., are in order. Take note of deadlines for filing, payments, renewal, registration, etc.; and prepare the necessary paperwork for them in advance. Consider non-working holidays and changes in schedules because of the holidays. Keep in mind, too, that Christmas parties and other holiday happenings might push deadlines in advance. If all else fails, find a reliable partner to help you handle these tasks and stay sane!