How to Take a Full Month for Business Development - "GS Batch December"
I'm about to embark on a big experiment. I'm spending the entire month of December on business planning.
I'm calling it "Batch December", and I'm pretty sure it's going to transform my business in 2017 and beyond. And I'm going to invite you along for the adventure!
Let me explain. You may recall that I've shared the concept of "Batch Days" with you in this story from January, "How to Make More Time for Business Development."
I set aside a "batch day" or two every month to spend the day working only ON my business, instead of always "in" it. It's a day with no meetings or client work due. This has allowed me to make amazing progress on growing my business, adding new services, and uncovering those a-ha moments that are so hard to have when you're in the "thick of it."
And I've recently made the big decision to make December "Batch December" - a full month without client work - to focus completely on the business (then take a much needed vacation post-December 22).
But am I really crazy enough to take an entire month OFF from paying clients? Won't that totally hurt my business? Well, let's consider a few things (and we'll see what happens together.)
So why an entire "Batch December"?
2016 has been quite the rollercoaster of a year, especially for the business. I had a slow January - April, then everything exploded from May until now. Everything took off just after I launched Small Business Gut Check (a free event for RDU business owners) in mid-May.
My beloved practice of "batch days" pretty much went out the window this summer when we got swamped. So I was already thinking I needed more development time.
When August came around and I started thinking about the holidays, I got an idea - a big, crazy idea.
What if I spent all of December just working ON the business and took an intentional sabbatical from client work - 15 batch days in a row, followed by an actual unplugged vacation??
The concerns that you might expect started popping up...
- Will that hurt my business and turn away new clients?
- Will it upset current clients?
- Would it hurt my January and 2017?
But as the idea kept pulling at me... the benefits started to crop up too:
- December is basically only two real weeks for possible client work because everyone is with family the last two weeks for Christmas and New Year's.
- My business isn't product-based and isn't seasonal.
- I still had time to ensure no clients were booked in December.
- Having 15 true business days dedicated to work projects could make a dramatic impact on 2017 and help me serve clients better and more efficiently.
- Taking the time to refresh, clear my head, and refocus could be invaluable and ensure I won't burn out for an epic year ahead (so I can continue to love the work I do).
- All of my batch days have been very productive - I can only imagine what I could accomplish with 15 days of uninterrupted time.
For these reasons, I've made the decision to embark on the experiment of a "Batch December."
Stay Tuned For How the Experiment Goes
It's early November and I wanted to share this with you now - 1) to give you a heads up I'll be sharing updates and stories about this and 2) to give you a chance to consider joining me in some way, shape or form.
During the month of December, I plan to share Batch December updates with you via Instagram insta-stories (@greateststorycreative) and Facebook Lives (facebook.com/greateststoryforbusiness).
I'll be sharing lots of the projects that I'll be working on and keeping you posted on whether this little experiment of mine is working or not! Make sure to follow me both places to stay up-to-date on "GS Batch December." I'll also be using #gsbatchdecember2016 on social media. If you get involved - use the hash!
So why am I going to be so transparent with this? I want to encourage you to do not be afraid to do something outside the box (like take an entire month of business planning!). I can't predict exactly how this will turn out but I think it's important to share with you the peaks and the valleys. Running a business is an adventure, and as much as I try to share something encouraging and informative for you each week - I'm a student most days of the week too.
Thus far, here's what I'm learning:
- Current clients that may have wanted new work in December understand, especially when they realize how short December is. Many have remarked what a good idea it is to do something like this!
- Some new projects have moved into early January for completion
- I've lost a prospective inquiry or two due to the timing, but I've also got a growing interest list for 2017
- My list of GS Batch December projects is probably over 30- which clearly I may need to narrow down!
- And I am so, so excited to dive in this December!
Once I made this decision in August, it's been a guiding light for my business. Any time I need motivation, I move forward knowing I've got this protected time ahead. My project ideas are flooding my brain these days - everything from clearing out and cleaning out my desk / bookcases, to spending an entire day writing pitches to blogs/podcasts/magazines, to creating document templates for my entire process.
I'm hopeful this will be awesome and I'm hoping to do this every December. Work 11 months and batch the 12th! As I'm into my last month of client work, I can look forward to all the good work I'm going to do in December, serve my November clients well, and know I'll have the time I need to catch my breath before it's 2017.
Whether you take the whole month or a day, I invite you to join me this December in a "Batch" day / week / month for your business, side business, or even your personal life. I think you'll be blown away by what you can accomplish.
For a personal twist, you can do a few of the things I'm planning to tackle like creating a home binder of important documents, finally getting art on the walls, and more.
And here are some of the things you could set out to do for your business with a dedicated half-day, day, week, or more:
- Document all of your business processes and create templates so you can easily set up new clients or customers
- Host an informal focus group at your home or office with people you admire to get their feedback on your business (wine and cheese goes a long way to inspiring people to help you!)
- Review this year's projects (or products) and conduct your own internal analysis (what really worked? what didn't? what should we improve for next time?) - and save your findings in a report to aid future business development
- Write some newsletters or social media posts for the months ahead
- Set aside a day for virtual coffees! Reach out to people you find interesting or possible referral partners and schedule back-to-back Skype calls for a day. Who knows who you may meet that could lead to big opportunities and collaboration in the future!
If you're a business owner, I can't say enough good things about embracing a "batch" strategy where you can. It's easy to get stuck in the trees, not seeing the entire forest of what you're doing, and that's not the way to stay inspired in your business.
Business expert Tony Robbins puts it this way:
"There are always two businesses you've got to manage: there's the business you're in, and the business you're becoming. If you just manage the business you're in, you're going to get knocked out by a new technology or new competition. But if you're constantly managing those two businesses, you won't have to quit or pivot, because you're always doing something to innovate, or to change, or to improve."
(Tony Robbins to Inc. Magazine, October 2016)
So here's to the next crazy adventure: "GS Batch December 2016." Let me know if you're in - to participate, to watch, or to be curious about what will happen!