Walter Bond is a former player in the National Basketball Assocation who is now a professional speaker. He's taken the concept of the "off season," which all professional athletes enjoy, and adapted it for his current business model. He writes, "An 'off season' is designed to give you an edge in your career and in your personal life by isolating areas for continouse improvement. It is not a vacation, nor a sabbatical. It is an annual break dedicated to retool, regroup, refresh and refocus for optimal performance improvement."
Many work-at-home moms tell me that they let their business lie fallow between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Admittedly, it's a slow time for me as well and I appreciate the fact that my business slows down just as the holidays are speeding up! And though I've always taken the time to do some business planning during the month of December, I've been inspired by Bond to go even further. He says that each year he takes apart his business and reassmbles it so that he's more effective. I'll admit that I've never gone to this much trouble but I plan to do some serious thinking this year. If you'd like to join me, here are a few questions to get you started:
- What's not currently working in my business?
- What activities are most profitable for me? Least profitable?
- Which activities do I get the most personal pleasure out of? The least?
- Are there tasks that I can contract out cost effectively?
- What professionals, if any, do I need to add to my team (i.e. tax preparer, accountant)?
- How can I market my business more effectively?
- Are my expenses in line with my income or could I benefit by reducing expenses?
- Am I saving a portion of what I make each year? And if so, are some of these savings for retirement?
- Are there revenue streams I should consider adding next year? If so, what is the best way to introduce them, and do I need help creating this revenue stream?
- Is my business stressing me out? If so, how can I reinvent my business so it's a source of pleasure and not stress?
The above questions will get you started thinking about how you might be more effective in the new year. If it's your off-season, this is a perfect time to retool, regroup, refresh and refocus.