Just like New Year's resolutions, Labor Day signifies a time of renewal and reenergizing oneself. The supposed lazy, hazy days of summer have come and gone all too quickly, and now it is time for the brand new notebook ready to accept penned resolutions complete with strategies and tactics, not only for your company and clients, but also for you.
While it may seem a bit tardy to be writing about Labor Day when September is waning, let's chalk it up to being too busy, which brings me to the resolutions themselves. According to time management firm Franklin Covey in its survey of 15,000 customers, four out of five people who make New Year's resolutions will eventually break them. In fact, a third won't even make it to the end of January. While we cannot necessarily apply the same statistics to Labor Day resolutions, my guess is that those fare far better.
Why is a business more likely to stick to its Labor Day resolutions? Third and fourth quarters are critical in business. You have four months remaining to make your goals for the year. Time commands reenergizing, reaffirming, revisiting, reconnecting, redeveloping and reevaluating. It is also a critical juncture to earnestly begin thinking of 2015, establishing goals and plans for the future.
Like many companies, each year Gambel Communications has a summer retreat where we tackle those items our otherwise day to day obligations do not permit. From reevaluating annual goals to revisiting our scope of work for clients to reorganizing the files on the server, cleaning them up just like a new school notebook, we look back at last year's agenda and take that as our cue. We also find time to learn more about each other. This year we participated in an exercise identifying each of us as an animal. Whether our personalities reflect that of a lion, peacock, owl or lamb, we need to respect one another's style and recognize that it is our individual strengths that make us a strong team.
So let's take a look at the "re" associated with Labor Day resolutions.
Reenergize - You have enjoyed a restful vacation and now it is time to buckle down and get to work with the energy of the first day of school. Even the slightly lower temperatures and the start of football season support a "Just Do It" attitude.
Reaffirm - Dust off your annual goals to see where you stand and if you do not have any goals, now is the time to make them. Whether you are in sales or in professional services, planning is essential to a solid, profitable business. If your goals are in line with your business to date, pat yourself on the pack and reaffirm these goals. If not, it may be necessary to modify them or more importantly to adjust the strategies and tactics that will help you reach those goals.
Revisit - Take a look at your new business and prospecting plans. What can you do to make them more effective? Track your wins and losses, and take a hard look at your prospects, developing a plan for each one. Perhaps there is a new service or product you can introduce. We recently added a suite of nonprofit services to our company, providing tailored programming for nonprofits seeking board development, training and planning. It is consistent with our company culture and is a natural growth opportunity given our long term plans.
Reconnect - To me this is one of the most important resolutions. Reconnecting is not just an effective new business strategy, but it is also an important stewardship approach. Schedule times to meet with current clients, as well as with former clients and prospects. Attend networking events and adopt best practices for social media engagement. Volunteer for and/or support a cause important to you. And, of course, follow up with those you meet. A fistful of business cards is of no use unless you connect.
Redevelop - There is usually a calendar replete with opportunities for professional development. Attend a conference. Tune in to a webinar. Attend industry sessions. Read journals and share content. Host lunch and learns or breakfast briefings. Participate in leadership programs and assume leadership positions in community and business organizations. This fall, our staff has dedicated itself to professional development. Besides the regular industry and community meetings, they are enrolled in competitive leadership programs and are completing accreditation in public relations and social media.
Reevaluate - Sit back and take a hard look at what you do. What do you like most about your job or career and what do you like least? What would make life better, and what would you have to change to actually make it better? Remember, Labor Day resolutions are not just for your business, but also for you personally.
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.