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It’s the end of the year, and many business owners take time off – or at least slow down. Your clients are probably some of them!
But some business owners do the exact opposite: they want to speed up. They see the end of the calendar year (and also, for some, the fiscal year) coming up and they want to end with one, or two, or three big project pushes before the ball drops on December 31.
As an Epic Virtual Assistant, now is your time to be their voice of reason against rushing through projects that need more time to be done right!
Rushing projects is only part of the problem: an unexpected offer launch will be extra stressful when you’re competing for customers’ attention with eggnog, fruitcake, and myriad other sorts of merriment.
Also, adding extra projects in December is doubly stressful for the team, who are more than likely winding down for the year themselves.
Here are some ways you can help your clients prepare for a nice, easy year end.
Have a meeting with your client in September to talk about the end of year preparations. In that meeting, plan the last quarter’s projects based on where they are for the year, where they want to be, and what’s currently on the horizon.
Some things you can ask:
When you can help them establish reasonable expectations, they’ll be less likely to cram in a bunch of projects at the last minute. When things start getting busy, you’ll also be able to remind them of the plan they agreed to a couple months earlier.
Add this meeting as a recurring task in your project management tool!
In November, review your client’s projects. Are they on schedule? Does anything need to be pushed back? Send your client a status update, and make a plan for the best way forward.
If you manage your client’s calendar, add some time off during December. Even if they don’t actually take extra time off, suggest that you block times so that they don’t end up in meetings and can get their end-of-year projects done.
It’s also a good idea to ask them if they think they’d like to take some extra time off, since you’ve been able to block the time off in their calendar anyhow. If not, that’s okay: they get to use those time blocks to work on their own projects rather than client work.
If you’re working through December and your client isn’t, get clear on what they want you to work on while they’re out of the office. What still needs to happen? The most important thing is to ensure the business is still running smoothly, even if it’s running more slowly than other times of the year.
This is also a place where your stellar customer service comes into play: is there anything that you normally wouldn’t take care of that you can offer to do during this slower time period?
Then make sure you get instructions on how to do whatever they want you to do so you’re not bothering them during they’re off time 😉
You knew I was going to say that, right? Documented processes pay off over and over again, so make sure to document your end-of-year process. This is especially important if your client takes time off during the December holidays.
This is a simple, easy way to take care of your client so that they don’t have to worry about checking their email while they’re away. It’s so simple, though, that people often forget to set it – so here’s your reminder!
Finally, if your client gets antsy about finishing the year with a bang, or if they start stressing because they’re just short of an annual goal, encourage them to focus on wrapping up the year.
Encourage them to take whatever information they’re judging and reacting to, and use it to inform next year’s activities. It will far better serve the business and the team to wrap things up, and then move forward strongly in the new year.
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