The Christmas Holidays are often a good time to relax, enjoy yourself, spend time with friends and family, think, read, prepare for the demands of the New Year, or any combination of these, benefitting us in our personal and professional lives.  However, there are three dangers we all need to look out for, especially if we are in business, or this can turn out to be a time to look back on with regret.

Getting away from it all too much!  We can so enjoy the break from work that we do not come back refreshed and ready to go, but somewhat sluggish and out of the work mindset (especially if we have overindulged in eating and drinking).  For some of us this is not important as we usually get over it after a while. For others, due to the nature of the business, it may be essential to hit the ground running if we are to beat the competition and grab the opportunities while we can.  For some of us then, the first New Year’s Resolution has to be: “to be determined to do whatever it takes to get physically and mentally fit to compete… and win!”

Listening to bad advice! Many years ago, when I first acquired a horse, I found I was short of time and money, but never short of advice. Everyone I knew who had ever sat on a horse was keen to share lots of “expertise” with me.  I soon found out that most of them knew less than I did, and I suspect that some were motivated by a desire to impress, or some even less worthy motive, rather than any concern for my welfare, or the horse’s.  Well, in business it can be a bit like that. At Christmastime you can easily find yourself listening to someone with lots of advice. These tend to fall into two categories: optimists and pessimists. Both are equally dangerous.

  • The optimists encourage you to take silly risks – remember it is your money, your reputation, and your business, not theirs!
  • The pessimists discourage you with stories of how they or someone else failed some time ago doing something similar to what you are doing now.  Remember, the circumstances would not have been quite the same, and you are not them!

I am not saying you should be arrogant, but do weigh these things up and ask yourself: “how much do these people really know?”

Projecting last year’s results forwards.  It is all too easy to assume the new year will be a continuation of the old and to make plans based on that belief.  It is important to consider the effects on your business of changes which have taken place, or are likely to take place.

  • In the economy – will there be growth, stagnation or worse?
  • In Society – are there changes in public demand for your services or products?
  • In the competition – is it strengthening or weakening?
  • In yourself –  how have you changed?

Any of these mistakes can cause you to miss an opportunity, to repeat old mistakes, or commit new ones.  Now is the time to think carefully so as to get the best results in the New Year.

Happy New Year!