But summer is a time for preparation. It’s the time to strategize, as well as attend to the things for which you don’t have adequate time during the rest of the year.
Here is my list of the six things you must do in order to hit the ground running after Labor Day and continue that momentum into the New Year.
Though I mentioned that you’re likely to spend less time doing outreach during the summer months, getting insights about how you’re doing from the perspective of the outside world is very important. And now’s when you have some down time to act on the information. Pick five attendees and five exhibitors and gather some feedback. Indeed, whether they’re even willing to take your call at this time of year will be a litmus test as to whether they like you.
2) Check whether you are on track for the year.
The suggestion above is a good way to look ahead, but you should alsoconsider the milestones that this year’s plan had you reaching at the midpoint of the year, both in terms of metrics and other projects that should have been completed by now. Are you where you want to be? Use the feedback from your calls/visits to make refinements to your plan and/or upcoming events.
3) Clean your database.
I once had a client who hadn’t done a full cleansing of their database in more than six years. Consequently, their hard bounce rates were quite high and the email delivery rates were lower than expected. My client’s fear as they began to address this problem was that many of the unsubscribes were people who had blocked the emails because they no longer wanted to receive the client’s messages. But upon doing a ‘mini-scrub’ it turned out that most of the unsubscribes were people who had changed jobs or retired. Eliminating those targets from the database or finding the person in their new position (and asking whether they wanted to re-subscribe) substantially improved delivery rates, as well as other email marketing metrics. If cleaning your entire database is too big a job, then commit to doing a certain percentage every year. An incremental approach is superior to ignoring the problem.
4) Ask your staff what you can help them progress with their careers.
When I was a ‘big deal’ at IDG, I did this twice a year. And I intentionally avoided doing it as part of a review session, so that the conversation was neither forced nor tense. Frequently, you’ll find out about hidden skills or interests of your people and you’ll be in a position to leverage that information when opportunities arise.
5) Clear off your desk.
My desk often is a mess. Sometimes I just need to pause, remove everything, and start afresh. I like to put everything into a plastic bin that leaves me free to go through the bin while enjoying the benefit of a pristine desk. You may have another method, but regardless of your approach, I defy you to tell me it wasn’t worth the effort after you have done it.
6) Take a vacation.
If your projects allow, please take some time off. You are your most important resource and sometimes you just need to put your feet up. Ensure you take advantage during the lull of summer, and hopefully, it’s more than two days – or perhaps two days taken more often. Americans are infamous for not taking their earned vacations, but the smart ones among us realize that taking care of ourselves is very important and they commit to doing so. The work will still be there when you get back…