Hiking is something I took up in college that began as a stress reliever but quickly turned into a passion. What is the typical college student good at? Yes, you guessed it… procrastinating. When I found myself pulling at my hair while writing papers and studying, I would leave my dorm for a hike. Living on-campus at Stockton University provided me with plenty of nature trails throughout the pine barrens. Wandering aimlessly in the woods while I had work that needed to be completed somehow helped me complete my assignments quicker it seemed. Hiking the trails allowed me to return to my work each time with a clear head seemingly full of the answers I struggled to think up prior to my hike.
Autumn has always been my favorite season for hitting the trails. The air turns crisp and the trails become decorated with colorful fallen leaves. Some trails become hidden under the leaves so it is especially important to map out your destination and to follow the trail so you do not get lost or injured. The same principle applies to setting your goals for a spectacular fourth quarter. Map out your expectations and follow your vision until you have reached the end goal.
Keep these principles in mind as you take the path less traveled on your adventure towards the close of yet another fiscal year.
Assess your health.
Only you know your limits and physical capabilities. While planning a hike, I always take into consideration the length of the hike and the type of terrain. No two paths are the same and neither are fiscal quarters. Do an audit of your website and digital marketing strategy. Review your best-performing pages or posts and update them to include new perspectives. If necessary, take stock of your sales and closing capabilities. Rewrite your worst performing content so it matches the quality of your best work or discard it altogether.
Set new goals and challenge yourself.
I would only walk one or two miles when I first started hiking. I cannot fathom limiting myself to that small of a distance nowadays. With time, my comfortability with trail hiking has gradually increased as well as the distance of my hikes. Apply this thinking to your work goals. If you met or exceeded expectations for the first three-quarters, then you didn’t set them high enough. Aim higher and choose a new peak. Design SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Be sure you can achieve your set goal, but also make sure you are challenging yourself.
Map out a course and follow your strategy.
I am known for driving in my Jeep and pulling over at an area I have yet to explore. I love moments of spontaneity, but even then, I take a second to evaluate my surroundings and decide on a path to travel. Analyzing a hike beforehand ensures my safety and gives me the peace of mind knowing I will be able to find my way back on the return. Now imagine being in a business setting where a leader sets a goal and issues a challenge without providing a plan or developing a strategy to get there.
If you’re a small business owner or freelancer, the last thing you want to do is get lost in the wilderness of your ‘to-dos’. If you’re an employer, the last thing you want is to have your staff walking around in circles.
Using buyer personas – characters who represent your business’s ideal customer based on market research and customer profiling – will help you shape your content strategy and structure your website’s content.
Gear up and step out.
You can plan, strategize, and gather all the supplies and equipment in the world, but if you don’t start climbing, you’ll never reach the peak. Your success in the fourth quarter is dependent upon setting goals for your company and employees while acting on your set objectives. Keep your eyes on the goal and one foot in front of the other until you reach your destination.
Learn to love the climb.
Hiking is something I look forward to when I am not in the office. I enjoy seeking out new places and pushing myself to journey longer distances. Elevate your company’s success through the creation of new challenges and the aiming of new heights. Challenging set limits will keep your employees engaged and your clients invested in your journey. When your clients and prospects are more engaged, you become the king of the mountain while your competitors hang out in the valleys.
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