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Were you like me when you started your journey as an entrepreneur? You would arrive in mid-November and find yourself frustrated because all momentum seemed to stop. Your suppliers are taking longer to deliver. Your customers don’t return your calls or emails for weeks, and there’s a feeling that nothing is happening (apart from current purchases, of course).
The Christmas season slowdown has begun!
It infuriated me as a young man trying to make his way in the business world. Why is everyone turning down the tools and giving up for the year? !
There is a general feeling that December is a write-off as people slow down and look to the new year. But what is it? Why do we have this collective agreement and what can we do about it as frustrated go-getters?
The first thing to recognize is that this is a collective agreement — even Christmas is just that. We see it as the time of year when we take a break from the cold. Ultimately though, the reason we all engage in traditional behaviors in this time is purely that we all agreed.
Related: 6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged This Holiday Season
Everything is really a collective agreement in our society. Most of us agree on:
- pay our taxes
- The rule of law
- Respect the results of the elections (most of them!)
- Participating in society traditions & conventions
There are clear reasons why we agree with these things. We understand, for example, that there will be consequences for breaking the law, but that’s still just an agreement.
We are all free agents in our realm. If you want to go home, take your clothes off and cover yourself in hot sauce… you can. I wouldn’t recommend it, but you can.
But in this (admittedly ridiculous) example, by not doing so, you’re still upholding the collective agreement that your family would likely view you as a danger to yourself and others and also that it would be physically unpleasant.
Our business practices are the same way. We generally agree that there are specific ways to behave when onboarding a new client, for example, or when conducting meetings. Contractual obligations are another very literal agreement that we enter into with an understanding of the consequences if either party fails to meet their obligations.
So why would the downturn in the Christmas season be any different?
It looks like something people assume to be a natural occurrence. Like rock formations or the Northern Lights. “Well, we’re all getting into the Christmas slowdown at work now. That’s just what’s happening, isn’t it?”
But it’s not! It’s only a thing because we mean it.
The truth is, you don’t have to comply if you don’t want to. It’s a relatively harmless deal, after all. Instead of being frustrated like I was, think of ways to lessen the impact on your business by changing the way you operate.
Related: How to Build Trust and Keep Motivation High in Your Business
Use December to take care of all those tasks that are postponed for the rest of the year. Work on your preparation for the coming year by reaching out to customers and asking for feedback, for example. Or you can make those updates to the website you’ve been complaining about since 2020.
More than just chores, you could also use the time to work on yourself!
If you find that the stress of running a business is getting to you, now is the time to question it and find out what you can do about it. Start incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Learn to listen to what your mind and body are telling you.
Read more: 5 text messaging tips for businesses to succeed in 2023
If you’re at that precarious stage of business ownership, where you’re trying to focus on growth but also getting the job done, now is the time to sit down and figure out how you’re going to fix it. Prepare a roadmap for the next year that you can (and more importantly that you will follow).
It’s easy to see the Christmas holidays as a wind to a final destination, but there’s something on the other side! And it would be better if you prepared for it. Swing out of the “new year’s door” and you will steal the show from your competitors. Plus, your existing and potential customers will see that energy and what part of it!
The ultimate truth about the slowing Christmas season is that you don’t have to participate. Others can join this collective agreement if they wish, but you can use it to your advantage simply by reframing the situation.
Happy holidays to everyone.