The Speaker Business Red Zone

By:  Sean Harry, DMIN, MDIV, MIM

Hey Speakers! Imagine yourself in this scenario: first and goal on the 10 yard line with five minutes left in the game. A touchdown will seal your victory. Now is the time to give everything you’ve got and finish strong.

Now imagine that your speaking business is in a similar position — because it is! In these last few weeks of the year, it’s time for you to prepare for the new year by finishing up 2013 strong.

Here are five things you should do now in your business that will help you finish strong!

1. Get Your Tax Files in Order — You can get a jump start on January and taxes by making sure your financial statements are up to date. Go through your bills and receipts and classify any deductions or qualified expenses. Doing this now will save you time and money, because being prepared means fewer billable hours for your accountant. Besides, if you have questions for your accountant, now is a good time to reach him or her.

2. Examine Your Finances — December is a good time to talk to your financial planner. There may be some last minute investment decisions that will help you reduce your tax bill. While you are doing this, be sure to review and celebrate your overall financial position. Have you looked at it lately? The stock market has been soaring, so you should be pleasantly surprised.

3. Network — the holidays are filled with opportunities to share with family and friends. Why not also make it a time to try out your elevator pitch? Sam Horn wrote an article for Fast Company that provides a pretty cool networking template. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks and LOVE IT! Give it a try —  ow.ly/qeVLW

4. Network (Yeah! Again!) — Reach out to your key supporters and champions.  Thank them for believing in and supporting you. Do any of them deserve a holiday card or letter (the actual, physical, written and stamped kind)? Those will go a long way in showing gratitude and bringing you to top of mind.

5. Set Goals — What are the top three or four things you want to accomplish in your business next year?  Have you committed them to paper? Have you drafted out a plan for achieving them? November and December are great months for speakers because we typically have time to review and plan.

Well sports fans, it’s all up to you! The clock is winding down and the ball is in your hands. Will you take the challenge of putting your heart into it so you can finish strong?