Autumn Is a Great Time to Reflect & Plan Before the Holiday Crush
The fall season is a perfect time for reflection. The vagaries of school vacation, summer travel and shifting schedules have given way to a calmer, more predictable routine, and, at least for some of us, the crazy winter holiday season is still ahead. For me, the golden leaves, shortening days and crisp temperatures inspired me to bring the QB Community team together to take stock of what’s ahead for our amazing community. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our second year in business!
The QB Community team gathered last week in Portland, OR to review what we’ve already accomplished, think about about where we’re going and lay plans for how to get there. For two days, we brainstormed new ideas, dreaming big about what this community is and what it could become. We crafted a multi-step, year-long plan to put our favorite ideas into action. We also ate a lot of local chocolate!
At the end of two days, the walls of our workspace were filled with colorful Post-it notes, each one representing a new idea for making QB Community an even-more-valuable resource for small business owners. We worked hard to narrow our biggest, boldest ideas into realistic, achievable goals for the year ahead. We came away with an action plan that feels challenging yet doable, as well as a tangible excitement about the year ahead. Spoiler alert: Expect a new look, easier navigation, new features, exciting groups and so much more!
You know what was just as important as all of our heavy-duty brainwork? We had a great time together! From sharing meals and taking walks to talking about our families and busting out some matching fuzzy slippers, we strengthened our bond as teammates and friends. If that sounds a bit too far out and “Portland” for you, I think it’s important to remember that connecting with your co-workers -- daily, weekly or monthly -- is really important for building a successful business. Part of the reason I truly love what I do is that I get to work with amazing professionals who are also awesome humans!
So, how about you? How and when do you take stock of your business goals, achievements and plans? Member Lee Weinstein who owns a PR company told us that once a year he does a S.W.O.T. analysis with his team to look at their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Here’s why Lee thinks it’s important:
“I’d recommend everyone do a S.W.O.T. analysis and be really truthful so you can address problems or behaviors that need to be busted. Go back and re-review your plans to be sure they’re relevant. If you don’t have a brand plan, create one. If you do, see if it needs updating and if it’s still relevant to your consumers. Above all, listen to your consumers and ask them what they want from you.”
Another approach to staying on track? QB Community members and the co-founders at TINSEL Experiential Design in New York City planned their company’s values when they first started their business -- and they regularly refer back to those ideals. “Our values have acted as a roadmap for how we decide to grow in certain areas and how we evolve our brand,” says co-founder Erica Taylor Haskins. “As long as every new big decision supports our key values, we know it's the right step to take.”
As we head into the hectic holiday season, we hope you’ll take a little time out (or off) to dream big and get revved up for more small business success. As always, we’ll have your back. Check back here for helpful articles about surviving the holiday crush and to find inspiring stories about entrepreneurs just like you!
One last thing. Will we see you at QuickBooks Connect next month (November 5-7) in San Jose? I hope so!