I love Steven Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It really identifies techniques that accomplished people have in common. One of my favorites is “Habit #7 – Taking the time to sharpen the saw”. And, basically it is the concept that if you are a woodsman chopping wood all day, you must stop occasionally and sharpen the saw, or else your ability to cut wood will start to diminish, and eventually you will be completely ineffective. So as business people we must pause once in a while to sharpen our saws, and your slow season is the perfect time.
Most businesses have a slower season where there is a lul in their sales, and it is a great opportunity to sharpen the saw…
Your Skills – Do you need better management skills, sales skills, marketing skills, computer skills or industry education? Well, I encourage you to seek those out. I am constantly reading books and dozens of periodicals, attending seminars and subscribing to many business and industry publications. I keep a list of my skills that I am seeking to improve so that I can be on the look-out for opportunities to gain new skills.
Your Capacity – Web sites, marketing plans, employee training, affiliate programs, etc. These are all big projects that can broaden your company’s ability to grow quickly and more efficiently. This we know…but, the problem is that they take time. Well, now is the time! Take on one big project, and be poised and ready to handle the business’ busy months.
Your Mentors – This is sometimes called “Clout Power”. We’ve all heard the saying “it’s who you know that makes you a success”; well, I don’t subscribe much to the idea that you have to have connections with big players to be successful, heaven knows I surely didn’t know anyone like that. But, the part of who you know that is valid is the idea that if you surround yourself with, or even emulate successful people then you are likely to pick up new things from them and improve your own success. Look for people who you admire for their character, their moxy, their savvy, their skills, or any other value that’s important to you, and improve those relationships.
I sharpened my saw in recent months by spending time getting new certifications and relaunching a new website. Already in the 24 hours that it took me to put the site up, and then announce it I have already had a bunch of new sign-ups from people who found me on the web! (Welcome, by the way) So, if you want the same results, take some time now to improve your future.