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Now, where did I put that list?

Posted: November 28, 2008 6:51 p.m.
Updated: November 29, 2008 4:59 a.m.
The holiday season can be a frantic time, both personally and professionally, but here are a few tips to help you.

November and December are a great time to get a jump on your competition, and exerting a little effort can differentiate you.

Now is a great time to take advantage of planning early, getting organized and taking the stress out of the season. Lists serve you well during this time, so follow these tips:

n Make a list and check it twice. Imagine Santa's organizational challenge of delivering gifts to every child across the globe within 24 hours without a list. You should make a gift list of the people you need to remember and carry it with you.

n Carpe Diem - Seize the day! Now that you've got your gift list, seize the moment. At year-end, many of us find ourselves attending conferences/seminars dealing with our work.

Take advantage of your travel to another city and give someone the gift of chocolate from Chicago or barbecue sauce from Dallas.

If you're running from place to place, try shopping in airports during your layover. Airports have many unique and unusual shops, and you can kill time while checking off some gifts from your list.

n Get organized early. Being organized now will give you more time to focus on work when everyone else is frantic and losing ground.

Review your current goals and outline what you can do to affect your success for the remainder of the year. Make sure you've got a list that categorizes what you can do to help your clients during the busy holidays.

n Take advantage of quiet time. Many people take vacations during the holidays.
There are times when your place of business or office seems empty. Great! Use the quiet time to get work done without the typical interruptions. Get a jump on your business plan for the next year, prioritize activities that will generate the largest payback and brainstorm ideas with your group on strategy.

n Remember your customers. Don't forget to remember your customers by sending a greeting card.

A little effort can go a long way in building an ongoing relationship with clients by thanking them for their support and patronage.

Include some personal comments about your successes together this year, and hopes for the coming year.
A personal note to each customer is best and is a gesture often overlooked these days.

It can go a long way to differentiate you from your too-busy-to-bother competition. In this very technological and harried modern world many of the niceties of the past are either forgotten or never taught.

There should be a course for every up and coming executive or MBA candidate that puts back the personal touch in business. You'd be surprised to learn how many of your customers remember the salesman or company that exerts that little bit of extra care.

You never know who is going to give you that next giant order that keeps the wolf from the door. It might just be the client that got your personal holiday card and remembered it.

In business, being "nice" is not an option, it's your living!

Maureen Stephenson is a local author and owner of Santa Clarita-based REMS Publishing & Publicity. Her column represents her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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