You’ve been moving steadily through the year in your organization, head down, working on the goals and strategy you resolutely laid out in January. You had big hopes and dreams for this year. How is it going?
Maybe you’re crushing it. Or maybe things didn’t go quite to plan. (They rarely do.) Life gets in the way. Things happen. And now, suddenly, it’s the End of Summer.
Buzz and Woody’s exchange from the original Toy Story rings in my mind (because I think in movie quotes). “Now is no time to panic.” “Now is the perfect time to panic!!”
It’s tempting to panic. But more important, it’s time to plan. By mid-summer, most of us are deep in the weeds. So, zooming back to see the forest is critical to get a clear sense of What to Do Next.
Re-assess your business plan.
Given where you are now and all that’s happened this year, do your goals still make sense? Do they hold true, or should they be adjusted? Remember, a business plan is a living document. It’s a roadmap that should be flexible enough to pivot with your business as you observe and learn.
The book "Live Free or D.I.Y." describes how to structure a fast, flexible "lean business canvas" that works as a modern style dynamic business plan to guide your business.
Re-evaluate your marketing.
Are customers lining up at your door? Or is it a slow season?
For many businesses, summer is a slump, and there’s an expected pick-up when vacations end and school begins. But, it’s not always the case, and we’ve learned over and over that history doesn’t always repeat itself when it comes to customer behavior.
One of the most dangerous things you can do is neglect your marketing strategy or put it on auto-pilot. Marketing should be an intentional and integrated part of your entire business plan, and August is the perfect time to zoom back and look at your plan.
Why? In a word: Christmas.
You think this year went fast? Imagine how quickly it will be Christmas. The end of year is a critical time for your organization. Whether you’re for-profit banking on end-of-year earnings to close the year strong or a non-profit seeking those important donations and gifts, focusing on year end begins now.
For too many organizations, it catches them off guard, and by the time Halloween closes down and Thanksgiving looms, it really is “the perfect time to panic.”
But you’re smart. You realize that good marketing takes time. Whether you’re looking at the analytics of your social campaigns, or wanting to improve your marketing material, or even zooming all the way out to your entire brand and positioning language to make sure it’s connecting with your potential customers – all of this takes time to evaluate, create and implement.
And, after it’s re-launched, it still has to optimize and marinade in your marketing channels to sink into the ears, eyes and hearts of your customers.
It takes time. A good 3-month window is pretty perfect.
And, if you’re keeping score at home and planning for year-end, that’s right around . . . now.
This isn't the starting line. But it can be a re-starting line.
If you’re rolling along at exactly the right pace that you’d planned and your projections are firm, congratulations! You are in a coveted minority in the business world!
But if re-evaluating your plan would be helpful to boost your year-end performance, we urge you to not wait. Now really is the perfect time.