It’s the first “workday” of December. The year end rush may be leaving you drained, stressed, feeling overworked, and definitely anything but full of holiday spirit. With just a few weeks left in 2012, why not make it a goal to make the coming year a whole lot better than what you’ve experienced this year? Yes, it can be done. But there is only one way to make it happen – a little planning. These 13 tips can put you on track for a better 2013 – starting today.
Go BIG or Go Home
Don’t just sit around wishing in 2013. Take BIG action steps to fulfill your goals. Hire the coach you’ve been thinking about. Increase your visibility within your community. Do something! The more you do, the bigger your chance of moving your business forward.
Work ON Your Business
Your business isn’t just a way to replace your job. If that’s your sole goal, head back to the work place, as it will be A LOT less stressful. Instead, your business should be more than putting out fires and dealing with daily problems. Block out a section each week for planning and focusing – it’s the only way you’ll create a plan that will move your business forward.
Do One Marketing Task Every Day
Hoping for new clients will never bring them in. The only way to make it happen is to go out and find them. Do one thing every day to make a connection – call a past client, respond to posts on a forum, write a blog post, attend a networking function. Ideally, do it first thing in the morning so it can be sidelined due to a problem or “fire”.
Commit To New Things Every Month
Always work in your office with little contact to the rest of the world? While working with clients is important to your business, working with mentors is the only thing that will bring fresh new ideas into your life. Sign up for classes throughout the year. Buy those books you’ve been meaning to read. Head off to a photography conference. Then make sure you take your best ideas and put them into action.
Connect With Clients Every Month
Start up a newsletter. Create a postcard campaign. Pick up the phone and call your best clients. Every single month you should be working at building a stronger relationship with the people that already love you – your current client base.
Create Something New
You’ve been thinking about adding a new package to one of your niches – now is the time to do it. A new product/service gives you a reason to send out a postcard to your past clients, or pick up the phone and call the people you know it would be perfect for.
In order to make room for something new in your life, you have to give up something old. It can be something as easy as television at night, or something more difficult like a club you are on the board of at your child’s school.
Survey Your Existing Clients
Do you know why your current clients hired you? Do you know what they really think about photography? Ask them. You can email, snail mail, or even survey them in person.
Improve Your Education
Just because you know all there is to know about [your niche] photography doesn’t mean your clients do. Create a way to educate them. From simple blog posts and video, to reports and brochures, to free or even paid classes out of your studio, the only way to make your clients more aware of why you do what you do is to tell them all about it. Don’t assume they understand – it’s not always the case.
Look For Emerging Ideas
In today’s marketplace, things change all the time. Watch what is happening around you and how your potential clients respond to it. You’ll quickly find things that can add value to your business and put you way ahead of your competition.
Look To The Past
How good are you at keeping records? Head back to your accounting and sales numbers and spend some time with them. Identify your highs and lows throughout the year. What was the cause? How can you change that in the coming year?
Move Towards The Future
As you look at the past year, you’ll quickly discover things you wished you had done, or even things that worked well but you know you can make even better. Don’t let those ideas disappear. Create a working calendar that will allow you to put things into place at appropriate times all through the next year.
Plan Your Vacations First
When we own our own businesses, we get so busy at times we forget to take time for ourselves. Schedule your entire 2013 now. Make sure you take plenty of long weekends and even a week or two (or three or four) just for you. Vacations allow you to look at your business – and your life – in a different way, refreshing you to put more into your business once you step back in.