kc-holidayIt’s already starting. I don’t know if you caught it, but it started before Thanksgiving. The energy began to shift and the world (especially the retail world) was sending you messages to start thinking holiday. And perhaps you bought in. You started to get visions of sugar plums dancing in your head and now that there’s still work that needs to be done to finish your year strong, you’re panicking.

When you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you really can’t afford to get sidetracked by holiday festivities. In fact, you need to find a way to make the holidays work for you. That’s why when I got Shawna’s question, I kind of chuckled. (I could remember when I was afraid of the same thing affecting my business.)

“Hi Darnyelle. Around my house, the holidays are a big deal. And, this is my first year fulltime in my business. I’m a solo-preneur who has a pretty rigid schedule but I fear that I will become distracted from my goals of starting the New Year strong. What advice can you share to help me enjoy the holiday but also keep my eyes on my business?”

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As I share in the episode, every year at this time, thousands of entrepreneurs have the same challenge. At least those who’ve yet to create systems in their businesses to prevent them from skipping a beat during the holidays. As a business coach and strategist, I really help my clients maximize the holiday with operational and marketing systems so that they are supported while being human and responding to their family’s needs during this time.

Of the 28 million businesses in the country, approximately 22 million of them are just like Shawna, solo-preneurs/non employers (according to the SBA). So, when it is largely just you in your business, my first recommendation is a Stephen Covey-ism – begin with the end in mind. Knowing that the holidays are a big deal and distraction may be inevitable, what is your goal for December in your business and what have you already put in place to ensure that you achieve your goal? No one said you can’t enjoy the holidays when you run your own business. I know that I do. But to be most effective, this is the time when you’re going to have to think like a CEO and not a solo-preneur. Here are three quick tips:

1. Set a monthly goal that takes into account the amount of time you have to work toward the goal’s completion. Remember that goals that are SMART get achieved. So be specific, make sure you can measure your goal, be clear that the goal is attainable in the period of time you’ve selected, be realistic on what you can actually accomplish with more holiday gatherings than usual and be clear about when the goal needs to be achieved by having a time element involved – in this case, December 31.

2. Give your business the same respect you gave your job. Be responsible. If you’re supposed to be working, work. It may be a good idea to rent a room at your local library if you work from home and your family members will be there and threaten your focus. This is the biggest time stealer so I say, clear the desks and remove yourself from all known distractions for the specified time each day to ensure that you actually get done what needs to be done. It may be necessary to schedule short breaks to keep your focus high but other than that, clearly outline what tasks must be completed in the specified time each day.

3. Create 90-minute profit producing activity spurts. Each day, schedule (yes, I said schedule – remember, what gets attended to gets done) two 90-minute “meetings” with yourself where all you will do for 90 minutes is focus on profit producing activity in your business. If it doesn’t have the potential to lead to money, don’t do it. By being productive each day for a total of 3 hours, you’ll gain traction and advance your goals. And also remember to hold yourself accountable… or if you are weak in this area, identify someone who will hold you accountable. Reviewing your goals daily will help you to see what you need to adjust to hit your target before you start celebrating.

And lastly, celebrate. You will have deserved it by being diligent and working on your business to keep the needle moving long after the tree has been thrown out.

Now I want to hear from you, what’s your two cents?: What do you do around the holidays to ensure that your business goals don’t get sidetracked by the festivities? How do you prioritize so that you achieve all of your goals and still have time for holiday and family celebrations? I can’t wait to read your two cents as you post a comment in our blog.

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©2013 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Speaker, Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises.com, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program for more clients, more income and more leverage in your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Entrepreneurs Must Avoid When Unleashing Your Incredible Factor So You Attract More Clients, Make More Money and Gain More Leverage” just fill out the form below.

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