Strategic Planning: How You Can Use The Slow Summer Months To Prepare For The Fall

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It's no secret that things in the business community move at a different pace- a slower pace- over the summer months. With recent posts, we've looked at ways for you to maximize the opportunities presented by the season (re: networking, referrals) to keep working efficiently and effectively during the summer. Another way to take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by the summer involves working for the future rather than the present- the extra time you may find yourself faced with during the quieter summer months can be well used in preparing for the more active fall and winter.

Sit down and take some time to reflect. Where are you professionally? Where are you headed? Where do you want to be headed? What's going to help you to get there? What's going to hinder you? Think long and hard about these questions and others and set out a plan of attack. Not just for the fall and winter either, mind you. Those should be your primary points of focus, but think long term, too, how are your Q3 and Q4 plans going to factor into your 2-year and 5-year plans? Making effective use of the surplus of time, you have in the present will be key to your success in your short and long-term future.

Expanding on some of those questions you asked yourself in building your plan of attack; you should set aside some additional time to think about some of the ongoing challenges that you face in your professional life. You should focus specifically on those that will manifest themselves soon, when you have a full plate, and examine them with fresh, rested eyes. Rest lends clarity and helps you examine a problem that's been plaguing you when you're free of it rather than when you're feeling its effects. It could be the difference between success and failure. Take some time, now that you have it, and work on removing roadblocks to your future professional success.

In addition to abstract analytical and philosophical preparation, set some time aside for actual physical preparation. If you know, you're going to be presenting at a conference this fall, sit down and plan out your PowerPoint presentation and script. If your business is going to be taking on increased responsibilities with existing clients or taking on new, currently prospective clients, reach out to them and formalize specific plans for your work with them. If you're going to be introducing a new service, ensure everything mapped out down to the finest detail. If you're going to be producing more product, work ahead if you can; if you can't, again, make sure everything is as planned out as it can be.

Reflect on your short and long-term plans of attack, solve chronic issues before they flare up again, and make actual, concrete plans to handle specific future challenges. Just because your competitors and peers are using the slower summer months for additional rest doesn't mean you should be too. Maximize the extra time you have in the present to maximize the success you'll see in the future.

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