How to Organize Busy-Season Preparations

One business owner’s tips to start getting ready for summer without being overwhelmed
How to Organize Busy-Season Preparations

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New year, new you! Or, as I prefer to say, “New Year, Better Business.” Not as catchy, but it’s what we all want, right? All of us have good businesses. We work hard, provide a service that everyone needs and constantly try to improve on what we do. 

But it’s really hard to maintain all of this when you are a small business. You are constantly understaffed and overbooked. You need to be in 10 places at once, and your to-do list just keeps growing. How do you get everything done? 

Putting it to paper is the best way to tackle your company’s needs. While the weather outside is frightful, sit down and map out what you need to do this year. It sounds overwhelming but a giant to-do list is the first step to a successful season. 

This year, I reached out to employees, business partners and my family members for suggestions on what we need to work on this year. I put it on paper and was left with 53 items. I know that sounds awful, but some things were as simple as new driver uniforms. I just wanted to get all of my thoughts in one location. 

From there, I broke the list down to operations, finance, sales and administrative. This made the list more manageable and allowed me to give a portion of the tasks to each department. I could easily order new driver uniforms but, honestly, that is a job for operations because they know what the drivers really need. I also recognize that I can’t accomplish all 53 things myself without losing my mind.  

With each department now armed with a to-do list, we sat down to plan. For us, the season really starts around April 1, weather permitting. So we have 90 days to accomplish most of the tasks on our list. All work on these lists doesn’t stop on April 1, but the processes must be put in place so that they are routine during the season and we know they will get done. 

To ensure success, we plan a series of follow-up meeting for January, February, and March. Everyone puts them on their calendar, and they know what they need to have accomplished for that next meeting. 

Goals can’t be met without accountability and planning. It may be hard to find time in your schedule for all of these steps, and maybe realistically your list should have only 20 items — or even less. But through this process, you are improving your business, and that is always time well-spent.

About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.


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