The end of 2015 is fast approaching and 2016 is just around the corner, most small business owners start to think about what next year will bring and set goals for the new year. Don't head into the Christmas period thinking all you will be doing for the next few months is taxes, use the opportunity to start planning your most productive and profitable year. To get a jump start here's my end of year checklist:
Follow up potential leads. There still may be business out there, make sure you follow up those emails with phone calls and try to arrange meetings. For me as a wedding photographer, I chase up any couples who enquired about a date in 2016/2017, if I don't receive a reply before the new year I can start to offer that date to other couples.
Send a Christmas Card to your Clients. This is nothing new, a whole host of businesses send out christmas cards to their clients, but it's a great way to stand out from your competitors. Go one step further by personalising your cards with a message, think about thanking them for their custom or write a small note about something great you shared with that client this year.
Evaluate your goals from 2015. How did your business perform in 2015, did you grow as a business and most importantly did you achieve the goals you set for the year? Identifying the reasons for both your accomplishments and failures will help you assess what goals you should be setting for 2016 and areas in which you may need support in.
Make subtle changes to your branding. Consistency is key with branding, but making subtle changes can help to keep your business looking fresh. If your business is heavily based online and social media, adding new content can keep your returning followers and customers engaged.
Make a personal set of goals. Planning & setting goals for the business is very important but also consider planning personal goals, investing time in yourself can make growing your business even easier. If you struggle with writing or public speaking for example, you could consider taking a course in that area to help develop your own skills. If you keep telling yourself that you’re going to start eating healthy or plan to get fit, don't be afraid to make that one of your goals, it can change the way you look at your business.
Get your Finances in Order. If your business has struggled financially in 2015, consider seeking financial help to make those important informed decisions for the year ahead. If you’ve hit your financial targets or even had better than expected growth still take the opportunity to plan your finances in 2016. It involves so much more than accounting, see how you can save money on all areas of the business, what service can be tweaked to be more profitable and how much your time is worth.
Strategically Plan Your Approach to Social Media. With social media you never know what is around the corner, which platforms may become less popular or grow, but you can certainly have a plan in place. If you were overwhelmed with marketing and social media in 2015 you may want to consider using apps and websites that allow you to plan ahead with your social media posts and updates. Examine which system would benefit you and the business the most and implement this into your 2016 plan. Research which platforms your competitors are using and make sure you have your own presence. Keep an eye out for social media platforms that are set to explode in 2016, Periscope is certainly going to be a big player in the field next year.
With all the work involved with a small business, it's easy to overlook forward planning, use these tips to make sure you and your business enter 2016 in a positive position.
What's your biggest end of year task? Do you have any tips on how to end 2015 organised?