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Holidays are a good time to reflect on your business now and into the new year.

We think of the holidays as a time for gatherings with family and friends and for relaxation. Even so, an entrepreneur’s job is never done. There will be occasions over the holiday season when you can put your mind to business matters. So, what can a business owner do to make the holidays a bit more productive?

The holidays can be the ideal time to reflect on the past year and begin outlining plans for the coming twelve months. Following are a few projects to complete in between the various holiday festivities.

1. Assess How Well Challenges Were Faced

Businesses face challenges every year, but the COIVID-19 pandemic was a particularly challenging time for many businesses. Take a look back at how well your company adapted to the unfolding Coronavirus crisis. Did you react fast enough? What else could you have done to lessen the impact of the pandemic on your business? And, most crucially, what steps can you take to prepare for a resurgence of the virus or similar disaster scenarios.

Related: How to Steer Your Business to a Post-Pandemic Recovery

2. Review Your Personal Performance

The holidays are a good time for a self-assessment. For example, do you need to fill in any knowledge gaps? Or could you have handled any tricky situations better? There is nothing to be gained from beating yourself up about anything. Even so, there is always room for improvement, and a personal-growth plan will benefit any business owner.

3. Check Out the Competition

It’s always a good idea to be aware of what the competition is doing. However, when you are busy running a business, monitoring competitors may not be a priority. When you have any free time during the holidays, go online to see what the competition has been doing. Look at your top competitors, for example, to see if they have changed their marketing messages. Investigate any new trends in your industry. And make a quick price comparison with some of your competitors to ensure that your business is staying competitive.

4. Explore New Products or New Market Possibilities

The holiday break would also be a good time for long-term planning. Perhaps there are new markets you could explore? Is it time to update or expand your product range? You might not want to complete detailed pricing and marketing plans for new products. After all, even business owners deserve a holiday. Even so, you could brainstorm new products or services and do a detailed analysis when you get back to work.

Related: 4 Ways to Adapt to Fluctuating Business Challenges

5. Consider HR Requirements

You can’t afford to take your employees for granted. However, when people are doing their jobs well, you can begin to do precisely that. So, the holidays might be an opportunity to consider how you can better use employees and help them progress their careers. For example, is there anyone on your team who is ready for new challenges? Is there any scope to improve employee knowledge through training? The holidays would also be an excellent time to think about future human resources requirements. For example, will you need to expand the workforce next year?

6. Indulge in a Little Blue-sky Thinking

Blue-sky thinking is brainstorming without limits. In other words, where would you take your business if there were no restrictions? For example, on what would you spend an unlimited marketing budget. Or what state-of-the-art equipment would buy if money were no object. Such pipedreams may not be immediately attainable. Even so, blue-sky thinking can help you formulate long-term plans. And there may be some cut-down versions of these objectives that are achievable.

7. Update the Business Plan

Ideally, business plans should be updated annually. It can be tricky finding the time to complete this task at other times of the year. But you might get a few hours to yourself over the holidays. In which case, updating your high-level business plan would be a good use of that time. Again, you might not have time to complete all the details. Still, you could bullet-point the areas that need revising and get back to the details later.

8. Update Financial Forecasts

Updating spreadsheets might be what you had in mind during the holidays. You might have done all the strategic planning and blue-sky thinking you can cope with for one holiday. You may want to start crunching the numbers of next year’s budget and cash flow forecast. It might be enlightening to help you see how will be able to have a prosperous new year.

Related: Tips to Improve Cash Flow Forecasting Accuracy

The Bottom Line

Of course, everyone deserves a break over the holidays to spend time with friends and family. However, there are often some quiet periods during the holidays that could be put to good use for your business. And while you’re away from the office, you won’t have the distraction of the day-to-day hassles of running a business. So, the holidays are a perfect time for a business owner to do some high-level strategizing in some of the key areas.

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About Universal Funding

Universal Funding is a nationwide invoice factoring solutions leader, supporting growth-focused businesses with scalable factoring solutions. With its invoice factoring, payroll funding, and purchase order financing services, Universal Funding provides clients with the working capital needed to grow and support their businesses without taking on new debt. Ranked as one of the nation’s top invoice factoring companies, Universal Funding provides cash flow financing for businesses all across the United States.

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