Now Isn’t the Time to Be an Ostrich

Winter is here. In fact, many places in the upper Midwest and the Northeast are already covered in snow. And many contractors have settled down for a long winter’s nap.

But I say now is the time to experiment!

Stop relaxing, I know it’s the holidays, but you should be just as busy now as you where 6 months ago! If your contracting business slows down as the days get shorter then now is when you should be planning, testing and improving your business, not when you don’t have a friggin’ second to think for yourself.

So here are 5 things you can do while hiding in the house in sweats this winter:

1. A new year means taking a look at what worked and what didn’t over in the marketing department. Slice and dice all of your advertising and figure out what’s worth renewing and what needs cutting. This means all of your print material, website, logo and maybe getting involved more in social media.

2. Get vital feedback you need to make educated changes, not just guesses. Pick up the phone and call your clients or customers from this year and ask them what their level of satisfaction is. If you have happy clients or customers, now might be a great time to ask for referrals and testimonials.

3. Get ready for next year with pre-season promotions or offers to get out as soon as the holidays are over.

4. Get together. There are plenty of guys sitting around playing Madden 2011 on their PS3’s, maybe you could all get together informally once a week for coffee and develop a few co-marketing programs or cross-promotion options for next year? Maybe you can make these get-togethers a bit more formal by starting a local Meetup.

5. Take some time to think. Nothing else, just ponder the Universe and figure out where you are going, where have you been, and what changes you need to make for yourself, your company, your relationship and your family.

While I am not a big fan of 5 Year Plans, I do perform the following exercise about one every 3 months or so. I will take a snapshot of where I want to be in 5 years, then work my way backward to that particular moment in time.

What that does is give me a semi-developed game plan to put into action. If you do this exercise at least once a month for the next 6 months you will start to see a pattern develop. Sure, some things will come and go because your needs and wants change, but the big things that are important will always be there!

So let me ask you, what do you do with your downtime? Are you lucky enough to not have a slow season? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: wwarby