As we start the month of December I find it interesting that for many businesses and organizations this is really the most important time of the year. Post a strong month and end up the year positive – have a slow or a sub par month and they find themselves struggling.
That is not to say that the whole rest of the year is not important, or that with a strong finish you can necessarily overcome a weak start. However though, for so many of us we have been trained to look at the last quarter as the time that really counts. Think of this as a sports analogy – and how teams need to rely on the “final drive,”or even overtime to achieve victory.
For example, in many retail operations, the Holiday season can account for up to 40% of their overall sales! For the nonprofit sector, the importance of the final year-end appeal can make or break their whole year – and for sure put them into position to manage cash flow for the next several months… or not! Then consider the stock market – after a stronger first three-quarters than most had predicted, we now find ourselves needing a proactive Congress to actually do their job in order to avoid a meltdown in the last month and find we erase all the gains so far.
I know in our own business – C L Graphics, we began the year very strong – up nearly 15%! Then over late Spring and Summer we found business to be very soft and ended the 3rd quarter down about 3% – only to post very strong sales the last two months and are poised to finish ahead by nearly 5%. That is, if we finish strong!
While it would certainly be easier to just have a consistent, positive pattern month after month, to some degree that would make for a rather “ho-hum” existence. I believe most of us need a challenge to help motivate us to succeed.A reason to push ourselves a little harder or to concentrate on finding a new twist on doing business. We need to set goals for achieving a certain level, and then when we make it – pat ourselves on the back for a job well done! In fact, one-third of this is in first being able to recognize and identify the need before it is too late, then the middle third is to rise to the challenge and push ahead, and the final third is indeed to savor the success.
Where are you at in the “game plan?” Are you poised to reach your goals? Will you take pride in a successful year? Hopefully yes, but if not, then that just means you might have to go into overtime before you gain the final victory. Either way, try to keep things in perspective and know that next year you get a chance to start all over again!