It's Thanksgiving and I'm sure you're thinking, "Where did all the time go?"
As an entrepreneur, you have been working diligently to stay the course, accomplish all your goals and keep your investors happy. But throughout the year, you--like all other startup founders--have experienced some setbacks with your product, service, team, or with customers. However, you can only remember from your newsletter that your competition seem to be getting closer to its dreams with every new funding round.
Now, you're probably thinking, "Thanks for reminding me why I haven't met the mark this year, and cannot take a break to enjoy my holiday meals."
I've thought like that before--and I want to remind you why it's so important for entrepreneurs to take a moment during the holiday season and reflect to themselves on the gratitude they have for the year's ups and downs. Here are three suggestions to help you close the year out in thanks and recharge you for the upcoming year:
1. Review your goals.
First step to reaching gratitude is to see how far you have come.
I once worked with an education tech startup with a year-end goal of securing $300,000 in sales ARR (annual recurring revenue) and obtaining 30 percent growth in active users. During the year, it became clear that the company would easily meet those marks--so we revamped the goals in May to $500,000 and 50 percent.
The year ended, and we weren't able to meet those revised goals. During our year-end meeting, I made sure I reminded the founder that we'd actually blown past our original goals. The year was still a success.
Go back to those business goals you established early this year. Take note of the items you have crossed off your list. They could be sales goals, hiring to critical groups or advances in your product development. No matter the goals make sure you acknowledge that you and your venture were able to meet a number of your goals.
Make sure to acknowledge those achievements that you didn't even set out to accomplish earlier in the year. This will sometimes surprise you on and display how your venture can meet the mark even when its not set.
2. Send thank you emails to critical stakeholders.
After you complete your personal victory lap and acknowledge how awesome the year has been, make sure you spread that feeling around to those who helped your startup in those achievements.
Last year, whenever I was able to acquire new accelerator clients, I made sure to thank those individuals who had made the original introductions to those organizations. It's a nice thing to do, and reengaging with those that provide intros lead to more opportunities in the future.
Take a few minutes to send out specific thank you emails to coworkers, investors, and customers who put in the work, resources or faith to make this year a success for your company.
3. Relax and reflect for the upcoming year.
So you took some time to acknowledge your venture's accomplishments and the contributions of others that have made your goals come to fruition. Now, it's time to think about the future.
What surprised you about this year's accomplishments? Were there areas in which you overestimated the company's capabilities or where there other areas where you underestimated the abilities of your team?
Ask questions like these to come up with a better perspective of how you can challenge and motivate your company for next year's goals. Make sure you recharge your battery. Do the things that help you regain energy so you can be ready for the new year.
Last holiday season, I blocked off specific time in my calendar for family and reflection. I was starting a new job, and I wanted to think about all that I'd learned throughout 2016. My business development goals have gone well this year, and that wouldn't have happened without my prior experience and my aspirations for challenging myself.
Have a happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. You had a great year!