It’s that time of year when all of our lives suddenly get busier. We need to start thinking about Christmas presents, festive food and whether our house is ready for guests. That’s on top of getting work done and all the usual household tasks.
Your business might also be getting busier in the run up to Christmas. I’ve recently spoken to a photographer who’s been booked solid for weeks as everyone realises they want family portraits for Christmas cards.
If you’re feeling frazzled already, don’t worry. Here are my top 5 tools to help you get organised and into the New Year in one piece.
I know, I know, I’m sorry OK? I know it’s only November and some of you are probably wincing. The thing is, in eight weeks it’ll all be over. The presents will have been opened, you’ll be wondering what to do with all the turkey and someone will be asleep in front of the TV. In my house that will probably be me.
Everyone has their own personality when it comes to planning. I was always one of those people who refused to acknowledge anything festive before 1st December. I start a bit earlier now but I’m still shocked by the social media posts from people who’ve wrapped everything up by mid-October. If that applies to you, please share, I’d love to know how anyone gets that organised!
If you’ve got your own business Christmas gives you a great opportunity to connect with your customers. But if you want to make the right impression you need to act now.
It goes without saying we’re all really busy. Whether we’re dealing with essential tasks or things we’ve chosen to take on, there’s always something to do. It often means that self-care gets pushed to the back of the queue. That’s if we think about it at all.
When we have a family, or our own business, or both, the idea of looking after ourselves suddenly becomes problematic. We might think of self-care as being selfish, or lazy. Business gurus tell us that we won’t build a six-figure business if we’re not working 15 hours a day. Or that there’s no such thing as a work/life balance.
It can be hard enough answering customer’s questions when they’re standing in front of you, but what if they’re online? Words are misinterpreted and tempers flare much more easily. What you write as a humorous comment could be seen as offhand and rude.
Potential customers will always ask questions. They may be about your service, your product or when you can deliver. If you offer a service that needs a face to face meeting your customer must decide whether they want to spend any time with you.
There are lots of things I love about my work, but ghost writing is enormous fun. Writing for individuals means that I sit at my desk trying to summon up their voice. Blogging for a business often means working with their brand identity to create the right tone.
The type of language I use depends on the audience we’re trying to reach. It’s not so different to having a conversation when you think about it. A chat with your friends is very different to a meeting with the bank manager.
Do you need a better work life balance? It feels as if it should be easy but sometimes it isn’t. Even if you go out to work then come home to spend time with your family the edges can still become blurred.
When you have your own business keeping to office hours can be almost impossible. You spend your evenings finishing off the paperwork or doing background reading. Your best new ideas pop up at the weekend. It’s not confined to business owners either; even employed professionals take work home. It all eats into the time and energy you could be devoting to your family.
We all know how horrendous bad service can be. I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t been ignored by a shop assistant or kept waiting in a restaurant. Sometimes we can leave disappointed because we haven’t been listened to.
I’ll give you an example: one of my relatives can’t eat anything with dairy in it. Her favourite restaurants will not only explain which choices are dairy free but also which can be adapted for her. A lot of chains are now catching on and have alternative menus for common allergies. However, last year she went for a meal at a local pub. She explained the situation to the lovely waitress and then watched as she spoke to the surly looking manager. The manager grunted “just give her that” and thrust a menu towards her. It was the gluten free menu. The pub’s loss was the fish and chip shop’s gain.
I know how it is; everyone (including me) tells you that you need to blog. It’s great for customer engagement and improving your search engine ranking. But it only works if you do it regularly. Twice a month, once a week or even more. I’ve seen it referred to as ‘the content monster’ and that’s pretty accurate. Even I feel like that sometimes.
So what can you do? How do you find blog topics that your customers will find interesting week after week without constantly repeating yourself?