And so we reach the traditional season for harvesting – September, October, November.
Gather in your ideas that have worked and congratulate yourself on a task well accomplished. Remember to keep planning on your next planting cycle and if some of the ideas will continue to perform retain them.
Some things you have tried will not have worked but then take from them any ‘seeds’ that might develop into other ideas that will work.
You are now in the period of reaping what you have sown but some years the harvest is poor. Your plans will have been adjusted throughout the year but if your return is not good you need to do some hard evaluating. Sometimes there are things outside of our control. In much the same way a farmer may suffer freak weather conditions or unexpected epidemics so your plans may have hit an unexpected setback.
Autumn wins and losses – evaluate
Be clear to analyse what was foreseeable and what was not. All too often entrepreneurs blame themselves for everything when things go wrong. At the opposite end of the scale do not abdicate responsibility for your own errors in judgment. Be realistic and learn from the failures as well as the successes.
Calculate, based on your preparation and attention from the previous months, what has been your ROI. Have your results repaid the time, effort and cost you put into them in the first place? If not, why not?
Be ruthless at dropping something you thought would work but has clearly failed or has such a low ROI it was not worth the effort. Consider whether you could have put contingency plans in place for those major setbacks. For example, if you are a seasonal business and this is the third dreadful summer in a row- what other products or services could you put in place to counteract that in the future?
Autumn is a time for further preparation
When you make your plans In January the fall months seem a long way away and it may be difficult to be specific about your actions during autumn. You may have to change your plans but always keep in mind your end goal. If you built in time during the summer months for a break then autumn will see you refreshed and new ideas may come to you. Sometimes we must step back from our business to see clearly.
For many businesses, the run up to Christmas and associated celebrations is an intense time. Autumn is when we refine those plans, the strategy to capitalise on the busiest buying season of the year. If it has not gone according to plan as you arrive at autumn then you need to do some fast thinking to retrieve the potential of the winter buying surge.
Autumn is not the time to throw your hands up in defeat or despair. You still have time to get back on track. Even if everything has gone to plan, keep in mind though that you cannot rest on your laurels. Winter is just around the corner and so the seasonal cycle will begin again.
The seasons change without us
Throughout the year, whether you like it or not, you will have to keep going. You will have to be continually evolving, changing, adapting and moving forward especially if you want to keep ahead of your competitors. If you plan well in January, you have a framework to work from. Remember to see plans as dynamic, changing, responding to circumstance and continuously evaluate and refine them.
Your competitors are moving forward, as too your customers, so must you.
Change can be challenging…..it doesn’t have to be. Register here to Download my free PDF ‘The Change Reaction’ for 5 practical tips on how to retain control.