It’s come to that time of the year when people start to reflect on the year that’s just been and make plans for the next, as well as overindulging on festive treats and mulled wine! Anyway, as a small business owner or freelancer, what sort of New Year’s Resolutions should you be making?
- In person, online, with competitors, with collaborators, with mentors, with mentees, NETWORK! Did you get the message? Networking is great for learning about your market, learning how you could improve, learning about what mistakes not to make, meeting like-minded people, meeting potential clients and customers, the list does keep going if you want it to. You can find online groups on places like LinkedIn and even Facebook, and look for your local Chamber of Commerce for a starting point for in-person networking events. It really does help businesses and freelancers alike to develop.
- Market yourself. If you’ve got work then it’s likely you’ve done this anyway. But do you wait for a lull in business? Eh ehhh (gameshow buzzer noise). You should be marketing yourself the most when you’re at your busiest. This means that when that job/those jobs finish, you’ll have other work starting to fall into place. If you wait until a time when you’re quiet again, you’ll likely have a gap. That’s fine if you’re planning a holiday or need some time freed up, but if not, make sure you’re marketing all of the time.
- Talk to your current clients/customers. Find out what they thought about your service, product, skills, price etc. and evaluate the service you’ve been offering. Are you meeting the expectations of your clients, do they like the value for money you offer, is there anything else they’re looking for? Basically a small customer service survey about you/your business. The end of the year/start of a new one is a good time to evaluate what you offer and whether it could be developed or tailored in any way.
- Evaluate your fees/prices. If you’ve been thinking about raising your fees or prices the new year is a good time to do it. Make sure you’re still offering value for money and can give a valid reason for the price rise, and ensure that you tackle the issue in a friendly way, there’s some useful advice here.
- Organise your finances. This is crucial to running an efficient small business! You need to understand how valuable your time is, what your profit margins are, how much unpaid time you spend on tasks and ensure that you’re as efficiently as possible. This is true whether you’re a small business or self-employed freelancer. You know when that 31st January deadline comes round, you don’t want to be as panicked as last year!
So, onwards and upwards for 2016, wishing you all the best with your business aims for the new year ahead!