We’re pretty fortunate as an industry that generally speaking one of our slower months is December. It gives us time to get into the holiday mood but don’t run off and leave your desk filled with the remnants of 2022. How you wrap up the year is how you begin the new year. And who wouldn’t rather turn the page and start 2023 with a clear mind and a strong business plan?
So how do you do that? I have some operational tips that can be implemented over the course of December and will leave you feeling fresh and ready to roll in the new year.
WRAP UP THE YEAR IN YOUR BUSINESS
1. clean up your books
I know bookkeeping is one of the most dreaded tasks for a creative. If you have a bookkeeper, great. You’re ahead of the game and can move on.
If you don’t and you have a messy pile of receipts it’s going to be your main task to wrap up the year. Just imagine though, that enormous sense of relief you’ll feel when you come back to work in the new year.
If you haven’t invested in a cloud based accounting software it could be time. It’s possible that a simple spreadsheet will do but here are the questions to ask yourself :
- Do you make a lot of product and materials purchases for clients?
- Do you have staff?
- Are you able to wrap up each quarter as it ends?
- Do you have a system for maintaining receipts?
- Do you have a process for invoicing clients that’s easy to track?
2. REVIEW YOUR MARKETING PLAN
This one will be much quicker and maybe more enjoyable than the previous one. Make a list of all the ways that you marketed your business this year. Not just posting on social media but any events you attended, any paid advertising you did. You can even include requests for referrals and requests for testimonials.
You definitely want to analyze your ROI if you did paid advertising. Paid advertising is becoming more common but make sure you’re not throwing money away to the wrong channel.
If you’re not already, start a simple spreadsheet and track each lead that comes in for the new year. It’s important to analyze your lead opportunities as well as the success rate on closing each of these new leads. More about qualifying leads before the discovery call below.
You should also go into the analytics of each of your platforms (website, instagram, pinterest, etc) and record the numbers. If you don’t have a starting point how will you know when you’re growing? You want to analyze the pages that are driving traffic, your ability to keep someone engaged and find out where your traffic is coming from.
3. CUSTOMER RETENTION
This one may sound like your ability to keep a client happy throughout the project but it’s more than that. How do you stay top of mind for past clients? It’s a perfect opportunity as you wrap up the year to send a holiday card or even just a simple text. If you create a plan to touch base with all your clients, past and present at a specific time of year you can be the first one they think of when someone asks for a referral. This is part of your marketing plan but it’s not being utilized by the majority of the industry.
I also realize there are times when you’re happy to be wrapping up a client project and you don’t want to work with them again. In that case, skip them. Best not to open that door if it was one you felt good about closing.
4. OPERATIONS AND GOAL SETTING
Of course I feel particularly passionate about this one. Spend time identifying your operational process. I like to break it down into 2 tiers – the client-facing operations and the business operations.
Write down and then review your processes and see if they feel right or if they need some tweaking. Ask yourself whether there are any parts of your client experience where you get stuck (or worse). Focus on that area and try to wrap up the year with a strategy to improve that in 2023.
And when all of this is done, go enjoy your holidays!