3 Simple Strategies to End This Year With Clarity


3 Simple Strategies to End This Year With Clarity

It’s critical to reset your business before Christmas so you can end this year with clarity and start next year with a bang.

Christmas is looming, but it’s important to reset your business NOW, so it’s ready for the New Year.

Most small business owners use Christmas as a countdown to get everything done before the office shuts. But realistically, we know we can’t get EVERYTHING done because it’s a never-ending To Do List.

And here’s what just focusing on the To Do List before Christmas really means:

  • Running yourself into the ground until probably Christmas Eve.  Then you have to turn a tired looking body into Happiness and Fun to celebrate Christmas Day with your family and friends.
  • Snapping at staff when they don’t meet deadlines which adds to the pressure.
  • You are snapping at clients or customers when they ask for the impossible to be ‘done before Christmas’.  This means you’re thinking ‘Why does lack of planning on your part create an emergency for me?’.
  • Ultimately falling out of love with your business which isn’t good.

What if instead, you stopped to determine what you don’t want to bring from this year into the next?  By doing this, you’ll end the year with clarity and be ready for a fresh start in the new year; rather than feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and rundown.

So take a few moments to write down what’s happened this year, including wins and lessons learnt.  This helps you determine what worked, what didn’t, and what you would do differently with the benefit of hindsight.

With this list in mind, here are three simple strategies to help you reset your business before Christmas.

Three simple strategies to reset your business before Christmas

1. Determine the NEW Boundaries and Expectations

In my experience, small business owners are wonderful people who are too nice to their staff.  As a result, they let things go or don’t address things when they happen.  Why?  Because they don’t like dealing with conflict and they hope, by ignoring issues, they’ll go away.  But they don’t.

So which behaviours, attitudes and frustrations (that you’ve inadvertently turned a blind eye to), don’t you want appearing next year?  These often include punctuality, not meeting deadlines, keeping the kitchen clean, not following procedures, disrespecting colleagues etc.

Write these down and then have a staff meeting to:

  • Own your part in not addressing these things sooner
  • Outline the behaviours and expectations which need to stop and the new habits to start building
  • Share the help you’ll provide to make this happen, eg training, support, documented systems
  • Outline the consequences of not embracing the new boundaries and expectations
  • Provide staff with a written summary of what’s expected.

When I help owners reset their business and teams, I provide staff with laminated copies of the visual ‘start and stop’ reminders.  This simple system shows you’re committed to changes.  It also addresses the ‘I forgot’ excuse.

By sharing with staff the old and new boundaries and expectations before Christmas, it provides them with food for thought over the break.  Follow this up with a reminder once the office re-opens and you’ll quickly see who’s really on your small business train.

2. Write Your ‘Not Negotiable Before Christmas’ To Do List

Rather than attempting and failing to get everything done before Christmas, instead develop a ‘Not Negotiable Before Christmas’ To Do List.  List only the tasks which MUST be done, based on the current capacity and capability of you and your team.  

Remember, these are targeted, realistic and mission critical tasks which cannot (or you don’t want to) be completed in the new year.  These not-negotiable tasks then become everyone’s focus before the office shuts down for Christmas.

You’ll be amazed at what’s achieved with a smaller list simply because you’ve given people permission to park what can actually wait. 

3. Write Your 1 Page Annual Business Intent

It’s time to plan tomorrow TODAY so start writing your 2020 Annual Business Intent NOW.  

The one page template I develop with my clients is called a Business Intent and not a Business Plan.  The reason is we can Plan to do anything but often don’t achieve it.  However, if we change the language to Intent, it shifts us cognitively and increases the likelihood of achievement.  

In addition, by having everything succinctly on one page; it provides clarity, focus and simplicity, which owners and staff can embrace.

Embrace the critical RRRS for business success

By following these simple strategies, you will have embraced the three RRRs critical for business success:


Now I know it takes time to implement these simple strategies, and lack of time is a common complaint from business owners.  But everyone has the same amount of time; it’s how we use it every day, which makes the difference.

So here’s my response to the ‘No Time Argument’:

What’s it going to cost you NOT to reset your business before Christmas?

What behaviours, attitudes and tasks will continue to be hanging over your head when the office is shut down, and you’re supposed to be switching off and recharging?

And remember Ryan Blair’s words: If it’s important, you’ll find a way.  If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse so please choose wisely.

If you take the time to reset your business before Christmas, Instead of feeling stressed, stuck and shattered you’ll end this year with clarity and finish the year with a bang.

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