"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
- Albert Camus
For most, last week marked the return of students to school and the end of summer vacations. Despite the summer-like temperatures, Camus' quote reminds us that autumn offers another opportunity to flourish in our careers and businesses. Back to School is also Back to Business, and business owners should treat the fall as a time to start prepping for the homestretch of the year: less than four more months until years' end!
Use these five tips to kick start your business and careers into gear the autumn:
1. Get out and network
Join a networking group or trade association: whether it's BNI, Gotham, or committing to attending a "meet-up" group within your industry. Regularly attending a business forum will give you the chance to not only extend your business networks and opportunities but force you to hone your elevator pitch, and evaluate what your core focus and business offerings are.
2. "Don't take calls, make calls."
Greylock Partners, Josh Elman stresses looking outwards and taking matters into your own hands. Follow up with all of the people you've met in the previous eight months - send them an email, a thank you note, or make a call, but make an effort to reach out. In business, absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder, it just lets people forget about you.
3. Get a business coach
Often, sole proprietors or small partnerships don't have a forum in which to talk about business concerns, ideas, and opportunities. According to Guru Rich Gee, a coach gives you a safe and open forum to discuss business strategy without fear of recriminations. He's kicking his business into gear with a new program, and you might want to emulate his strategy by creating a new fall business offering of your own.
4. Get a business makeover
Review, renew, and refresh your website, marketing and promotional materials. When was the last time you looked at your website? Have services expanded? Do you have new clients, products or services to tout? Look at competitor's websites and see what ideas you can borrow then use the excuse of the new design or service to promote your business.
5. Be a business chipmunk: save for winter
See where you can trim the fat, get a better rate, or often get a free upgrade of services, just by making an inquiry. Remember, if you don't ask, you don't get.
Chipmunk by Nina via Flickr.
It's never too early to start working on year-end tax and personal financial planning, according to CPA Owen Bregman. Bregman advises that you take steps such as getting your records in order, reviewing your investments (Are there gains or losses that should be taken before the year-end?), and reviewing tax prepayments. Project your income and taxes and adjust your withholdings or estimates if necessary.