Yes, it’s that time of year again: The days are getting shorter, the kids are back in school and your summer holidays have come and gone. Fall is here and you are probably trying to get caught up on all the projects and tasks you`ve been avoiding over the last several months. If you`re not careful the following months can pass in a blink of an eye – leaving you looking at your yearly sales and business volumes with disappointment. If you don’t act now the ‘summer hangover’ may last well into winter.
As a business coach, my job is to help hard working business owners succeed. Several years ago, I noticed that many of my clients were experiencing a ‘summer hangover.’ Although this lull in sales volume and employee performance can happen at any time of the year, it is most common after seasonal changes and holidays. Since I noticed this phenomenon, I now mark it in my coaching calendar to get people moving in high gear again after the summer or holiday fun. So, if you want to prevent the summer hangover for yourself and employees, take a look further, as I go over some of my coaching strategies that I use to achieve a strong finish to the year.
1. Winning Attitude
It’s important that you have a healthy attitude that brings out the best in those around you. Whether you’re a manager or a busy business owner, you’ll need to have a strong attitude to stir up your mojo. If you’re feeling a bit off or out of focus, your team will be even worse off than you are. So, don’t hesitate to take time and get your mind focused before you go into work in the morning.
Yes, Celebrate! Celebrate the summers good times and usher in the next season. This shouldn’t be a big surprise because many cultures have a celebration when the seasons are about to change. Usually, these celebrations are to acknowledge the hard work or fun of the past season and bring focus to the next. The same principle applies here. In fact, as a performance business coach, we often celebrate accomplishments to anchor any learning from past performance achievements.
Ask yourself, “Where am I at now?” and, “Where do I want to end up at the end of the year?” Recalibrating your goals will make them feel more doable and it will help you feel more connected to them. Remember: Whatever you focus on, it will likely to be where you end up. Getting distracted by a daunting task that doesn’t line up with your goals will certainly take you off course.
Leadership starts with the self and then migrates to the team. If you are not kicking yourself back into “go mode”, don’t expect your team to do anything different. In fact, if you are running at 80%, your team will probably only be at 70% or less. So, if you want anything different then you need to be giving 100%. As the leader of your business, you will need to take time to get and refine your vision for the future. If you are stuck and not sure what the 5-10-year plan looks like, pick something that will be inspiring for the next year so you can feel focused. Sometimes we have to walk a bit farther down our path to see what may be up ahead. Some of the most productive time are those moments when you don’t know what to do next. Although you may need to clean up things afterwards you can gain new insights and business information just by continuing to move forward.
Set a date to launch your new focus. The art of launching an initiative with your team is something that we find most small business owners are unfamiliar with. Your launch should have a simple vision that everyone can buy in to. A catchy saying or mantra will help everyone adapt and join the cause. A great example is “16 in 16”, which translates to 16 new ideal clients in the next 16 weeks, or “ask once – help twice”, which is asking for the most logical add on sale and helping the client twice as hard to get what they need. These slogans can make it catchy and easy for team members to buy into the vision for the rest of the year.
6. Check In
All great visions and goals become easily forgotten when things get busy in your business. Take the time to have regular weekly check-ins with your team. Without them, you will end up far off-course. We have a training module titled, “The 2% Rule.” The premise is that if you’re off by just 2% and never correct your course, you’ll consistently miss your target. Constant correction is required in order to reach or hit your target. The metaphor I use is if an ocean liner that leaves port is just 2% off course, it will completely miss the island it is aiming. The caption must continually evaluate and correct his direction.
7. Track Progress
Although this seems simple, be prepared to rethink this step. If you have set a volume goal it can be normal to have a transition time. Unfortunately, team members will quickly become discouraged when they notice that the goal is not progressing in a linear fashion. The thinking sounds like this: The goal is $100,000 over 5 months, so we should be doing $20,000 per month. They may think, “Well, we’re 3 months in so we should have $60,000 in sales but we only have $32,000. We’ll never make it!” Once that rationale creeps in, it has created a problem and it will kill motivation. Help your team rethink what is happening and encourage them to keep pushing forward as the results generally show up weeks after the effort has taken place.
I hope these simple steps help you have your strongest yearly finish ever. Remember to check out our other blogs and join our YouTube channel for other ideas to help you grow your business.