How to take time out without your business suffering

The Christmas break will have been hectic yet restful for most of my readers, but as the New Year begins, how can you extract full value from the recent period of business inactivity?  Hedgehogs provide an excellent model for how to take time out, when it is necessary.  Are there lessons which a marketer can learn from hedgehogs?  Hibernation is all about the critical marketing activities of planning and control.


• Be predictable and honest: I publicly declared across all my social media platforms that my business was going into a period of hibernation over Christmas.  I was happy to do this in order to let my customers know that I was not available; it is not a problem to have periods of unavailability, provided that you set your customers’ expectations correctly.  I will hibernate for Christmas every year from now on, especially now that I understand the business benefits which I describe here.  It will be beneficial for it to be known widely that many businesses, including mine, will shut down over the Christmas period.
• Prepare for the break in advance: Hedgehogs build up their reserves of fat.  Eating enough before hibernation is critical for the success of the hedgehog’s project.  A successful business will have been operating all year in the knowledge that there will be a period of shutdown in December.  Christmas is not a surprise event in the calendar, so it’s easy to plan for it.


• Keep control of key functions throughout the break: Hedgehogs survive by reducing their heartbeat, so that its major organs don’t use too much of its stored energy supply.  The warm-blooded animal becomes cold to touch, yet it remains healthy.  I have been keeping a close eye on my financial controls.  During my break, I monitored invoices which needed to be issued and I noted those which had been paid too.
• Use the time to:

1. Reflect
2. Review
3. Plan
4. Measure your achievement for the year ahead.

The quiet period of no activity is a perfect condition for you to establish your baseline levels.  In other words, if you know what happens when you do nothing, you can measure your contribution once you’re active again.
Key learning point: Your quiet period is critical for the success of your business in the year ahead.  When the hedgehog emerges, he is keen to replenish his food stocks.  I hope that you are also feeling restored and eager to develop your business in 2019, like I do.

If you would benefit from some professional input into the planning and control of your business, the first marketing clinic this year will be held on 31st January in Trinity Theatre .  Alternatively, please sign up to receive a weekly marketing tips via email or drop me an email for advice: [email protected]