How to end the business year on a positive note.

If you’ve been feeling somewhat discouraged about business this year and feel that you were not moving in the right direction, now is a great time of the year to take stock and review your accomplishments.

Operating your own business can be like a wild roller coaster ride. There are the highs of a really good day and the lowest of lows of the really bad ones, or when a great job prospect falls through. Often when you’re feeling down on yourself and your business it’s really not warranted. Here are some tips to make yourself feel better:

1. During the year, monthly, or even weekly if you have time, record your progress for that time period. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to look back and see how much you really have accomplished. If you did not do that this year it is not too late to get the appointment book or job accounting records, take a look at your email account and take a trip down memory lane. Make your self a list of the following:

• all the contacts you’ve made in person;
• all the one-on-one email, Facebook or similar contacts you’ve made;
• any networking events, lunches, meetings you’ve attended and the benefit you got from them;
• press releases you published or any free publicity you’ve received;
• any classes you’ve taken to further your business and how they improved your business plan;
• any recognition, award or nomination you’ve received;
• new clients you’ve signed on and how much they financially impacted your bottom line;
• volunteer projects you’ve taken on;
• potential clients who’ve shown an interest in you that you can revisit this next year;
• creation or improvements of your web site, business cards and other marketing materials.

2. Join a business Success Team. These weekly group meetings with other small business owners are great for sharing ideas and the agenda often requires participants to report what they’ve done the past week and set a new goal for the following week. This is great incentive to do what you said you would. Not all “B&I” groups are the same so find one that fits your marketing style and has members you think you can learn from.

3. Ask clients for feedback on the work you’ve done for them. Get verbal testimonials over the phone, in writing is better and if possible shoot B&A video of jobs with the customer’s reaction after work in finished. Photo B&A will work too.

4. Keep an e-mail folder where you keep testimonials and any positive feedback you’ve received for something you’ve done. Go back and read it when you’ve feeling down.

5. Call up a friend, networking buddy or another entrepreneur and go for coffee. Getting out of the office and sharing similar concerns with a like-minded person is a great morale booster. Knowing you are not the only one in the same boat leaves you feeling better.

6. Finally make your self a list of how you can use these positive things to promote and make your business better in the next year.

Happy Holiday and Happy New Year to you all.