The Ghost of Business Year-End Past, Present, and Future

Dec 23, 2014, Written by Sue Miley


You have seen Scrooge right?  Remember the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas current, and the ghost of Christmas future? Do you ever feel like the end of the year brings about the Business ghost of past year-ends, the present Business ghost of year-end, and the Business ghost of future year-ends?

All of the sudden, we start to anticipate the business cycle and seasonality that has occurred in the past. Business dies down in some industries. Others, like retail and restaurants, it is THE season.

This year, you may have been trucking along all year long working hard but oblivious to year-end. That is way down the road, you think. Now with 1 more week, you start to worry about year-end numbers, taxes, and cash flow. The Business ghost of year-end is asking, why you didn’t pay attention all year?

The Business ghost is wondering why you are repeating the same pattern year after year after year.

It is like this nagging in your head.  Where is this coming from?  So you try to focus on the coming New Year. What if the slow down is permanent? Will I be able to get my business back next year? My industry is projecting a downturn. Should I cut back and start reducing my overhead?

The Business ghost of the future takes me on an imaginary journey in my head showing me the people I will lay off because of my fear. He shows me the self-fulfilling prophesy I create.

It’s a crazy cycle.  We start each year moving forward the same as we always have.  If it is going okay, we just keep going. If things are bad, we start cutting back. If things are good, we don’t look up, we just put our heads down and keep working.

The year-end comes and we haven’t planned on how to end strong and wrap the year up in a pretty bow.  And instead of planning for the new year, if it is slow, we try to push it out of our minds and just enjoy the holidays. We can figure it out next year.

Then, we start the crazy cycle all over again.

I say we ditch the ghost and change.

Let’s focus on Jesus instead.

If we focus on Him, we will remember:

  • It is God who gave us our Vision.
  • We need to build our foundation on rock, not sand.  This means to build a strong foundation of strategies, people and systems that can navigate the waters of a changing economy and changing business.
  • We need to focus our efforts and proactively plan to spread the word.  Our business health depends on U.S. marketing and selling our products or services.  We can’t be at the mercy of the economy.  We have to be proactive and step out knowing that God can help us overcome a bad economy. If nothing else, moving forward and working on sales can ONLY help. And, if it is a booming economy, we need to take advantage of the feast, like Joseph did in Egypt.  The more we sell proactively, not just ride the economy, the more solid we will be in years of famine.
  • We need to lead our teams, not passively wait for what is to come. We need to lead our teams in planning and executing. We need to do work that glorifies God. To me, that is to step out and work hard, but I also believe it is okay to have contingency plans in our business. If something isn’t working, we need to adjust. We pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in the right direction. We stay focused on the God of the Universe, not the Business Ghost of year-ends!

6 Ways to Get Rid of The Business Ghost

I have a little God-focused ritual for year-end that I finally focused on after getting tired of the Business Ghost of year-ends trashing my year every year.  Now I anticipate with excitement celebrating the birth of Jesus every year because I have purged the ghosts from robbing me of this time.

1.     Thank God for the past year.  I try to make a list of all of the blessings of the year.  What has gone well and what we should continue to focus on in the new year.
2.     Repent of any bad mistakes.  We all make mistakes, even business ones.  I try to make another list of things I wish I had done differently so that I will NOT repeat the same mistakes in the future.
3.     Plan for the coming year.  I go back and look at my God vision for my business and make sure that I re-calibrate back to the vision if I have swayed off course any.
4.     Review the foundation.  I try to determine if I need to do anything this year-end that will position us well to stay on course in the coming year.  Do I have the right equipment?  Do we need any more people?  Do we need to change pricing, vendors, buildings, advertising, etc. to solidify our foundation?
5.     Create plans and contingency plans for the new year.  I believe we need to trust God, but He also works through us.  He wants us to use our gifts and talents to lead our businesses.  Once we have done our due diligence, then we need to trust Him for the rest. We can’t over function outside of God. But, we can’t sit around and wait for Him to do it all.  He wants to work through us!
6.     Rest.  Rest and relax over the holidays knowing that you are focused on the baby who came and became the Savior of the world.

Why?  Because you are following Him! You are following our Lord and Savior who has a path for each of us.

It is Satan who whispers, as the Business ghost of the past, current, and future, that nothing we do will be enough.  That we are a victim of the economy, the customer, our employees, our limited funds, our poor vendors.  Satan tells us that our business is at the mercy of others and that there is nothing we can do and that God does not care about our business.

It’s a lie.  A lie straight from the pit of you know where.

God has already conquered Satan and we are God’s children.  Here is to purging our ghosts and following Jesus into the New Year!

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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