Kids are in school, leaves are falling from the trees, the days are getting shorter and we’ve all settled into that energetic “go time” that is the back to work feeling of fall. If you’re in a summer season business like tourism, or construction, fall is a time for wrapping up and reviewing the successes and challenges of the season. If you’re in a business less seasonal, fall is often a time for closing deals that have been out there for a while and re-dedicating yourself to business after summer holidays. Either way, fall is a great time to get focused.
You’ve got third quarter results in, and there’s a tendency to start looking towards next year’s budgets and objectives, but first, really focus on one great opportunity for improvement. Make this fall the time when you look at one or two specific frustrations that have been recurring over time. Looking for ideas?
Think about what people vent about, even in a joking way. A construction company I worked with had a thing about ladders. The joke was they had four feet and always walked away. The cost of ladders was buried in a department’s overhead line item and this particular frustration was costing way more than anyone actually knew, but the recurring joke and frustration was an indicator.
Think about any complaint you’ve heard more than once in the past week. I worked for a restaurant once where people were so frustrated over the lack of back-up creamer and condiments they were on the edge of running out the door. If people are actively complaining, the frustration may cost you more than you think.
Think about what wakes you up in the middle of the night. Is it cash flow? Attracting and retaining qualified help? Figuring out how to cancel vacation with your spouse one more time?
Big or small, take the time today to identify one or two of your recurring themes and design a plan to eliminate (or at least minimize!) that frustration. Pull that topic out of the mix of the long list of things that you can’t ever seem to address and claim it: This is my focus for fall!
Set aside a small block of time to launch that focus, and really get creative. List three things you’ve never tried to do to resolve this frustration, and try those first. For more ideas on how to plan your focus activities read 3 Steps to Reduce Business Stress.