Holiday weeks can be frustrating for those of us who serve other businesses. Some simply shut down for a few days (especially the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day). Even if they’re open, they probably have a skeleton staff, and the decision makers may not be around.
But those “dead” days can be among your most productive of the year if you put them to good use. Here are a few ideas:
- Update your web site dates. You don’t have to do a big overhaul, but those slow days are a good time to go through your site and update anything that is still talking about the year before. Go ahead and change the year in the copyright line. (Hardly anybody’s going to see it in the dead week anyway, and you’ll forget it once things heat up in January.)
- Make sure the scripts on your web site are up-to-date. If you manage your own web site, it’s easy to forget to update any installations of software that runs your sites. When we’re busy, it’s easy to neglect this, but if you don’t, you could end up with a security breach that results in a hacker using your site to send out spam. Or you could get a call from your ISP telling you that you’re now hosting a Bank of America “spoof” site. Don’t forget those little scripts you installed on a whim one day just to test them out, or for a temporary project. If you don’t need them, uninstall them. They’re just a big mess waiting to happen.
- Revisit the services you use. This is a good time to take a look at the various services you’re buying. The marketplace is constantly changing, and you may find better values or services than you’re getting. For example, I took a hard look at the service I’d been using several years for web conferences, and found there were a quite a few companies offering better quality, more features and lower rates. Other things to look at: Email newsletter service, package delivery, mail processing, web hosting, phone and data services.
- Comb your credit card and phone bills for unintended charges. Now and then, we all fall for a “free” offer in which we put in a credit card number to get a free service for a month. Then we forget to cancel, and the charge is small enough that we just let it go even though we’re not using the service. American Express had been sending me a magazine I’d never ordered, and I didn’t think much of it. Then they billed me $57 for it. Um, no. This is a good time to get rid of those. (As a bonus, you get to pat yourself on the back if you don’t find any.) Your phone bill may also be getting padded with services you don’t need.
- Update your sales presentation. What have you learned or accomplished during the past year that you need to tell prospects about? What services have you added? You may have some things in your pitch that really aren’t profitable. Why not just drop them? This is a good time to move your slides around, trim the fat and organize your presentation into a theme with more punch and better graphics.
- Write a blog post about ways to make good use of the slow holiday season workdays. Never mind that one. It’s been done.