The festive season is a prime time to catch up on some business-related housekeeping. Before you completely switch off for the holidays, run through our to-do list and get a head start on 2017.
1. Send an original gift
Gifts are a great way to graciously acknowledge the people you’ve been billing all year, and remind your dormant clients that you’re still out there.
While in the past a lacklustre ‘Happy Holidays’ card and a bottle of sparkling wine might’ve cut it, these modern times call for something inspired and creative. After all, your client may abstain and has probably received 20 other identical gifts. Instead, why not opt for a contribution to Kiva.org or a donation to a charity like UNICEF in the client’s name? It’s a simple, feel-good option that’ll suit everyone.
Also, nothing says thank you like a personally-designed card or a handwritten note (especially if designing or writing is your profession; if it’s not, you may want to shoulder-tap someone to help you).
Avoid: Animated snowman e-cards, those cheesy digital relics from the Y2K era.
2. Upgrade your software
You’ve been meaning to do it for months, right? Carpe diem and say goodbye to all those eye-watering ‘system failure’ crashes.
Avoid: Doggedly sticking with your desktop accounting software because it’s “like an old pair of slippers”.
3. Review your digital toolbox
Have you got everything you need to be super-effective? Now’s a good time to install some new apps. Ask around, do some googling, and stock up for the New Year.
At the same time, you should purge your desktop, tablet and smartphone of unwanted applications, thereby freeing up a few extra gigabytes for the more important stuff.
Avoid: Installing Pokemon Go because you’ve heard it’s a highly addictive time waster, and you’re determined to be the exception to the rule.
4. Refresh your online profiles (yep, all of them)
Update your website’s About page, your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, etc. What have you achieved this year? Share any work-related milestones with your audience and prospective clients.
Avoid: Over-enthusiasm (multiple exclamation marks may induce headaches). And don’t brag; just keep it casual, as if you regularly win Developer of the Decade awards.
5. Add a classy headshot, too
How’s your profile photo? If it’s still a pleasant but slightly blurry picture you took yourself last year with a webcam, now might be time to get a professional headshot taken.
Avoid: That photo of you holidaying in Bali in 2003, or - worse - ‘borrowing’ a pic of someone else from Google Images because they look more approachable.
6. Revive your website content
When was the last time you updated the words on your site? Use the Christmas lull to squirrel away some fresh blog posts and add any new information.
Avoid: Leaving outdated content on your site and in automated emails (e.g. copyright 1996, We’re planning some big things for 2008, etc.), even if you’re going for a retro feel.
7. Stock up on referrals
Landed any big clients this year? Request a testimonial for your site while they’re in a festive mood.
Avoid: Uploading character references from your family. Creating that website for your mum was a lovely gesture, though.
8. Declutter your workspace
I know, boring… but think how relieved you’ll feel in the New Year when you burst into your office and all the paperwork has been filed away, the rotten apple cores disposed of, and those pesky coffee stains Spray & Wiped into oblivion.
Avoid: Dramatically sweeping everything into a rubbish bag, then desperately hunting for that Very Important Document five days later.
9. Organise your desktop
The virtual equivalent of the job above, but way more important. Your work has been backed up to the Cloud, your receipts and invoices are meticulously filed for the tax man, and you’ve created some cunning email rules to prioritise actual work over the latest Amazon deals.
Avoid: A smug, out-of-the-office autoreply about your trip to Fiji. Some people are still working, y’know.
10. Write down your career goals
This one is last, but certainly not least. You might not be the type to earnestly scribble down your hopes and dreams, but it’s worth taking stock of where you are in your career and what you want to achieve in the next 12 months. How will you grow your income? Are you going to expand your business into new areas, or cut back to focus on other things?
Avoid: Penning several pages’ worth of resolutions, complete with legal clauses and disclaimers. Just outline your top five.
Happy housekeeping, and enjoy your New Year!