If you’ve looked at your calendar today, you might have the same reaction that I did. After muttering a few expletives, I resigned to the fact that I have less than six weeks left in 2015 to reach my targets, wrap up any year-end projects, make those last few appointments and in general, get my act together.

Just when I was about to reach the point of panic, I ran across these tips from blogger Deborah Shane on how to end the year strong. We share five of Shane’s tips in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Review your process and procedures. Make sure everything is working smoothly, properly and that communications and activities are getting the results and outcome that you are expecting. This can include your phone system, voicemail message, website “contact me” form, social media activity or links back to your website.

Additionally, simplify and streamline how customers can find and communicate with you. Less is more. Check and update all the information on your website, the social media platforms you use and any sites to which you contribute content or have your information posted.

2. Know your financials. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. The question is are you making money or is it costing you more to be in business than it should? Don’t ignore knowing your numbers and what your cost of doing business is. Know and review the basics, like cash flow, net income, profit and loss, sales, price point, gross margin and total inventory.

3. Think more creatively. What can you do to shake things up and get people to act, pay attention or increase their interest in you and your business? Being consistent in messaging, content and strategy is essential, but adding a creative twist can perk up people’s attention. Recently outdoor gear retailer REI announced that it is paying its employees to not work and, instead, to spend the day outside on Black Friday. It’s creative, it’s a compelling action and it’s received a lot of media attention right before the holiday shopping season.

4. Add value rather than discount. Discounting our products and services may seem like a good incentive but in the end it usually ends up devaluing your product and company. Creating sales incentives to move or close out goods and services from a prior year, or those that are no longer being offered is smart business. Bottom line: It’s better to add value than to discount.

5. Change a few habits. To finish the year strong, make a few strategic, key changes in some of the habits, approaches and attitudes that you know are holding you back. Be proactive and willing, not lazy. Changing a few bad habits can make a huge difference in outcomes. Look at time management, organization, commitment, consistency, flexibility and resilience, and see where improvements can be implemented and make them.

Arrive early, stay late, volunteer, try a new approach, speak out, listen more, join and compliment others. These things improve our image and efforts.

Are you feeling motivated yet? Read PCT tomorrow for more ways to create a strong end to 2015. It’s not too late!

Source: Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. Her diverse career background combines entertainment, education, sales and media. She has performed on stage, taught in the classroom and won awards for her broadcast radio sales professionalism and small-business content marketing. Her book Career Transition— Make the Shift tells her career transition story and how anyone can move their career in the direction they want it to go. Her newest book is #trusthewhy – Fundamentals and Values Get You Through Any Cycle.