My business owner friends and I complain loudly about Q3 each year. We call it the "Vacation quarter" where deadlines get pushed, checks don't get issued, and it seems like the country has collectively decided to tone down their work output for three months.

However, a couple of years ago (fed by desperation in the downturn, no doubt) I realized that this slow period is when I should be brainstorming for innovations that will go to market in Q1 the following year.

Because we have a little extra time to crunch numbers and build business plans around our ideas, it's the perfect time to develop product mash-ups, new distribution channels, and new marketing messages for older products.

If you really innovate during Q3, you will have a GREAT story to tell when you start pitching clients in Q4 for next year's budget allocations. Your clients will see you as a leader and innovator if you're ready with new ideas in Q4, and next years' budget will show it.

Q3... the innovation quarter. Let's get started!