Forget the 12 Days of Christmas… here are the 12 top things you should do before the end of the year.


1 check in with your clients/customers

Don’t just send them a Christmas gift, CALL THEM. Are they happy? Do a review, a quick survey (Survey Monkey is great for this and it’s free). Keep it simple and make sure it’s relevant to the business you are in and gives you concrete feedback that you can act on.
Better still, book a face-to-face and ask them how the year went and their plans for 2013. Use the exercise itself and the feedback to hone your relationship and plan for the New Year.

2 check in with your staff

Are they ok? Have you asked recently, or ever? I had one of my best employees leave for personal reasons suddenly. What would that do to your business? Be genuine; maybe even ask for feedback from staff on how you are as a leader of your company.

3 get rid of the bottom feeders

You know those clients that drag you down. Think about how much happier and more productive you will be and how much more time you will have to spend on new business and organic growth from your existing clients if you get rid of the dead wood. Make a plan of attack to replace them.

4 review your top 5

What worked for you and your business in 2012? Do you know? Have you set plans in place to repeat those things in the New Year and/or make some adjustments? If you didn’t measure your activity, then make that a priority. Plan how to measure it and set processes in place to enable you to review every quarter.

5 consider outsourcing

We can’t all be experts at everything and we just waste our time and energy trying, or pretending to do stuff we know others can do better. What is the one thing you can pass on to an expert? DO IT, you will save money in the long run, not to mention a lot of grey hairs.

6 plan for christmas expenses

Cash flow might be tight in January, if it is make a contingency plan. Put some money aside now, or better still send out all of your January invoices before Christmas so they can get in and be processed.

7 list it/action plan it

Get a list started so you’re not walking back into the office in January saying, “What did I have to do again?” Set goals, make a 2013 vision board. If you have down time at the start of the year, use it to get a kick-start on 2013 and begin the year the way YOU want to.

8 get personal

Book in all your personal dates into your 2013 diary. These are the things you need to keep you sane. Whatever your poison is (massages, sport, gym, beauticians, weekends away), BOOK THEM NOW and plan them in the diary as you do everything work related. DO IT NOW before your diary gets filled up with work requirements and you find yourself at the end of 2013 wondering why you have no ‘you’ time.

9 say thanks

To your clients, to your staff, to your suppliers. If you don’t have time to send cards or fancy emails, pick up the phone. They would probably appreciate it more anyway. Say thanks for the work or for a good year and that you are looking forward to working with them next year. You know the drill, make someone’s day. Particularly if you are the boss and you bother to call, it leaves a great impression.

10 end of year admin

Back up ALL your files – and then back up the back-ups. Don’t think that a catastrophic hardware fail won’t happen to you (I did and it cost me $20K). Think about The Cloud if you need. Get some good advice; it’s worth paying for and the resulting peace of mind that you are covered is invaluable.
Check your insurances. Luckily I was covered for part of “the event” as it’s now called. Do a quick review to make sure everything is in order. Speak to a broker and get them to check it over for you.

11 plan for support

Set up a working group of like-minded colleagues, set action plans and work with them to keep yourself on track and accountable for the plans you have made for 2013. Consider a business coach, business mentor or advisory board. Other support options can be lifestyle coaches, vitality coaches or personal trainers. Find these people in your network to help support you and to assist you in achieving your goals.

12 and lastly – buy yourself a christmas gift

It’s been a long year and let’s face it, you deserve a reward for making it through!

Merry Christmas and have a happy and safe New Year.