If you read about “My Biggest Business Blunder of 2013” here at The Pencil Skirt Mom last week, you will have read about the ah-ha moment I had as I was contemplating on what I was doing wrong in my business. I received that ah-ha moment in the Fall of 2013. At the time, I thought a lot about how four seasons occur, not only in nature, but also in life and business. The season was changing from Fall to Winter. As the trees were letting go of their leaves, I was ready to let go of everything I had worked so hard on that year. (That potentially sounds like a downer. It’s not. Letting go of things not right for you is always a GOOD thing! You take the lessons you’ve learned and let go of the rest.)
Winter was around the corner. Things were going to be frozen and in a dormant stage. The Winter Season is usually a slow time for business. Projects may lie dormant and we may not be getting a lot of new business, but hopefully have stored up enough to carry us through the winter months. People are preparing for the holidays and wrapping up the year. However, this is the perfect opportunity to plan and strategize for the new year. I also take this slow time to catch my breath, celebrate the success of the past year and freshen my perspective. It’s important to also look ahead to the coming year and make plans for success. Draw or write up your business plan. Make sure your website is updated and lookin’ fine. Prepare bookwork for tax filing. Get rid of clutter. Organize. Get your tractors lined up for springtime planting.
Is there anyone who is not ready to freaking kick some ass once Spring arrives? The days begin to feel longer. The sun shines warmer and brighter. It is such a breath of fresh air to me after enduring the dead of Winter, and I LOVE being prepared to hit the ground running! It’s planting time. Plant those seeds in potential client’s lives offering your services and products. Be sure that you have the business side of things taken care of so that when you are planting Spring seeds, you are planting healthy seeds that are ready for germination. This means having contracts and products and prices and workflow and systems all in place and ready to go. It also means being prepared as a person. Have your inner work done so that you are emotionally ready to do what you love and do best. Don’t be afraid to let people know who you are and what your company has to offer to them and their friends and families. People come out of their winter hibernation and business starts buzzing again.
And, then…..aaahhhhh….the warmest sun of suns….Summer, the time for watering and nurturing your clients. Give them the experience you boast about, the customer care you promise. Pull the weeds. If a client was wronged, make it right. Go over and beyond to give them the best value. Cultivate relationships with clients, potential clients, business colleagues, business partners, etc. Communicate with your clients and potential clients. Listen. With.both.ears. This is going to give you so much information of how you can better serve your clients. Gardens full of weeds will not produce the harvest you want. Summer is also a great time to introduce new products and services to your clients. Don’t forget to go on vacation and take some time off to enjoy summer break with the kids to avoid burnout. Manage your workload. Fall Harvest is around the corner; and, as much as you want a huge harvest, you need to be able to harvest and still give your clients the care they deserve and have paid for. Keep your boundaries. Don’t let the zucchini plants take over your garden.
Fall is harvest time as long as you’ve put in the effort in the Spring and Summer. As long as you have watered your garden, pulled the weeds and cultivated relationships, you will reap a bountiful harvest. Harvest your crop, and harvest in due time. I know. I know. The weather is great. The kids are back to school. You most likely want to waltz a week away enjoying the last of the summer sun. And that’s fine if you’ve prepared for it, but Fall is here and Winter around the corner. You don’t want to wake up one morning surprised that the first frost has left your crop lying frozen and worthless in your garden. This would include those leads that you never followed up on, those potential clients you never reached out to. Don’t let them die and move on to your competitor. Harvest them. Now. When the time is right.
I have learned (and am learning) to embrace the seasons of life. Truly, there is a season for everything, and those seasons come and go with a natural ebb and flow. All I have to do is to listen and watch and be ready to embrace those changes. To plant when it’s time. To nurture and water when it’s time. To harvest when it’s time. And to let go when it’s time.