Your End of Year Playbook
Professor Raymond Smullyan was a magician, mathematician, musician, philosopher, and logician. Famous for his logic puzzles, it was his introduction of “retrograde analysis” that makes me most grateful for this remarkably brilliant man. Retrograde analysis, in its simplest form, is creating a solution by reverse engineering a problem. This is something that we employ heavily at Cowe and as the year’s finish line is within sight, we have been hearing from a lot of you that 2022 and all the work and worry that comes with a new year is posing to be a big problem. Our solution? Providing you an end-of-year playbook that will guarantee you a fresh and fabulous 2022. Let’s do this!
Phone a friend. While days can be slow, years go by in the blink of an eye. Think about all of the amazing people you interact with, from employees and vendors, to partners, stakeholders and clients. Every single one of them is incredibly important to the health and wealth of your business and as the year is coming to a close, you need to reach out and check in. This is an opportunity to get feedback on 2021 activities, ask about their 2022 plans and how you can be of service to them in the future. Not only will this help you plan your upcoming year, but it will connect you to everyone else’s year too.
Plan everything. Ok, maybe you can’t plan everything, but you sure as heck can try. Marketing is not magic – there is nothing but blood, sweat, tears and a shocking amount of sugar and caffeine behind great marketing. Audiences want to be delighted and they have a short attention span. If you don’t delight them quickly and often, well then they disappear. This means that you need to take the time now to look at 2022 and start planning. Notate birthdays, anniversaries, national days, galas, etc. An actively updated and detailed marketing calendar = thriving business.
Purge clutter. Less is more. Clean your desk. Clear your emails. Delete apps. Embrace space.
Procure Support. Now that you have all this space, you can focus on being more productive. One of the best ways to become more productive is to delegate tasks you aren’t mastering to other people that are experts in their field. Can’t answer your phone and get work done? Hire an answering service. Constantly sitting on piles of clean laundry in your home office? Hire a cleaning service. Only eating granola bars and ramen? Hire a meal service. And yes, I can hear some of you yelling at me that these things are expensive and simply not an option but let me give you some perspective – you can have anything you want as soon as you prioritize everything you need. Identify what you really need and then find the right people to help make that happen.
Prioritize downtime. There is nothing cool about burnout. Overworked people lead unhappy and unhealthy lives and while movies might like to glamorize sleepless nights, mental health experts will eagerly tell you that the crisis is real and its terrifying. If your business cannot function a few weeks without any one person, then you need to reorganize your business immediately. The truth is that you need the headspace, everyone else needs the headspace and without it, you are all doomed to eventually fail, both personally and professionally. So here is the sign you have been waiting for – GO PLAN YOUR 2022 VACATION (and don’t forget to put it on your calendar.)
Pick your prospects. 2022 is an opportunity to put your business and your brand in front of new, eager eyes and one of the most powerful ways of doing this is by being intentional and strategic with your prospect list. Begin with a list of your dream clients or dream partners. Then ask around your circle of influence, your employees, and your various stakeholders. Ask them who they think would be a perfect fit for your business and then get to doing research. (Personally, this part is my favorite part and I embrace my inner Columbo!) Visit their website, their LinkedIn, their social media channels, and their reviews. See what Glassdoor and Yelp have to say about them and how they responded. Do your homework and then keep your eye on them. Study how they behave in their market and then, when the time is right, reach out. Picking your prospects is not only empowering but it’s just plain fun.
Professor Smullyan once said, “When one has eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The truth is, you can be as successful as you want but you are going to have to put in the work. And if you are saying to yourself (and to me) right now, “But I am doing the work and nothing is going right,” then you must ask yourself if you are doing the right work. If you aren’t sure where to start or what to do next, visit COWE.com. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving and be well.