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Make the Most of the Holidays

The holiday season can offer both distraction and opportunity. Here are tips to make it work for you rather than against.

Once again it's the holidays. Halloween is done, Thanksgivukkah hits this weekend and then it's on to Xmas, Kwanza and of course New Year's. If you are not careful the whole month can be a useless bunch of distractions and parties that disrupt business and take things off track.

It doesn't have to be this way.  With some prior consideration the holidays can actually be a very productive time. Use these 6 tips to make the holiday season your most powerful time of the year.

1. Get caught up on projects.

The holiday season brings a number of days that are useless for business, offering some much needed down time. Some days will end early and others will have offices closed.  You can use this time to catch up on projects, reorganize your work environment or even set out some strategic planning. Sit down this week and look at the calendar so you can plan to make the most of every extra hour.

2. Reach out to long forgotten contacts.

Most everyone has people in their contact list they have been meaning to talk to but just couldn't get around to calling.  Eventually you feel embarrassed for not reaching out or following up. The holidays are the perfect opportunity to make contact with those you forgot or abandoned. A simple note, call or email in the spirit of the holidays will allow you to ask forgiveness and restart the relationship on a cheerful holiday note. If serious neglect was evident, try sending a good bottle of wine with your apology.

3. Save on much-needed equipment.

Ready for some new computers or equipment? Black Friday is not just for consumers. Companies can also get great savings on electronics and other office needs. Take stock of your current office inventory and hit the sales. You can get in some last minute tax breaks and get the business fully equipped for the New Year.

4. Refocus your strategy.

The end of the year is a great time to reassess your current business plan. As the books come to a close, it's a great time to gather everyone together and evaluate the year. Most people are in an end-of-year, reflective state of mind so take advantage by asking them to write down a few thoughts. Then you can use a slow afternoon to have a group discussion about your preferred future. Take notes and be ready to implement some change in the coming year.

5. See everyone you want to see.

The holiday season means lots of parties and gatherings. This means many of the people you need to see will be conveniently gathered in the same place. Don't miss out. Go engage with the people with whom you need to network and have fun doing it. If they aren't scheduled to be where you want them, host your own holiday lunch or party so you can get in some quality face time.

6. Show people your creativity.

Holiday greetings are nice, and many include an extra "Happy Holidays" in their email signature. But this is actually a great opportunity to show valued people that they are important to you. Go that extra step.  Create a fun video, card or gift that shows you are willing to give thought and effort to make people feel worthy and important. Who knows, it might be just the thing to close that deal or gain that extra opportunity.

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Last updated: Nov 25, 2013

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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