Well, now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I hope you're like most Americans today, you ate too much, drank too much, sat on the couch way too long and caught up with friends and family. Now, it's back at it until Christmas and New Years.

For many of us who unfortunately treat marketing, networking and promotion of ourselves and our business as an annoyance to our "work", well, I guess we look at the Holidays as "time off" to rest up, forget about work, and go hang out with those we enjoy. I guess that's ok, but it sure creates a huge missed opportunity for future business and January momentum.

See, the very concept of a solid business is for that enterprise to have a continual flow of customers and "qualified" prospects ("qualified" meaning people who have a need for our products and services and the money to purchase them). To do this, you must have a system which brings them in. For most Small Business Owners (SBO's) believe it or not, it's the Owner. His/her relationship with the people in the community who like them/need their service and want to do business with them. Usually the "A" client is one that you have a good, friendly, on-going relationship with.

See, this thing about knowledge is only so good up to a point. If you know everything there is about your profession over time, you've built up more designations and degrees than a thermometer, but what good is it if the local prospects who need you and your service don't know you??? Hello!!!! Hiding behind knowledge while customer opportunity is occuring a lot during the holidays with those of us who somehow do not mix it up, party, engage with the public and basically crawl under the mistletoe until the New Year. It's great that you're rested and slowed down, catching up on the loose ends, but you'll certainly miss out by NOT interacting during the holidays. It's about being around people, ok? It's about building relationships, communicating, and being available to meet, greet, and basically "run for mayor" (not literally, instead of gathering votes, you acquire leads).

At this time of year, attending holiday parties, socializing (the process of being social - for any Scrooges out there! Ha Ha) with customers, future prospects, gala functions put on by civic organizations, churches, clubs, societies, etc. all of these are fantastic ways to meet the folks...the lifeblood of your business.

Years ago, I was invited by the leader of my church to go downtown and pass out blankets to the homeless. I spent a very humbling day with those unfortunate souls, but created a friendship with that church leader who months later sought me out, became my client, and referred over to me numerous colleagues who he worked with.

Not a holiday season slips by that my wife and I do not attend at least three or four social events. Not only are they fun and wipe out my waist line and wage war on my liver (too many Dos Equis) but it seems almost inevitable not to come away with some solid prospects who -

A.) Found out what I do
B.) Layed on me their curent dilemma
C.) Listened to my quick diagnosis
D.) Sought my card
E.) Called immediately to my office for an appointment

This is a cool by-product of having fun, yet seeking significance to the growth of my business in a very enjoyable setting.

I do hope you see this and appreciate why "getting out there" not only is the right thing to do, but can be quite exciting, as well as prosperous to your business.

Talk with your staff, run it by your friends or family. See what's out there. Better yet, host something yourself. Whatever, this is the season - and your opportunity - to make merry. I strongly suggest you do so.

Im looking out for you!

Jim Chilton
Your Financial Coach