Hanukkah is over and Christmas is almost here! By now, if you celebrate, you’re probably checking your lists and making last-minute purchases or creations, decorating your home or attending the season’s festivities. In all your doing, don’t forget something very important to your business. You may be thinking, “I know. I need to get my tax receipts ready,” or, ”I need to notify my customers that I am taking a vacation,” or even, “I just have a few orders to fill.” They’re all important, for sure, but not what I’m talking about today.
The most important activity you will undertake for your business is a review of 2012 and planning for 2013. Start with reviewing your business plan. Does it need revision, or do you simply need to review it so as not to lose sight of your goals? Next, take a look at your activities for this past year. What worked and what didn’t? What propelled you toward your goals and what made you stray? Did you find that you fulfilled your plans or did you fail to make them?
If, for instance, you find that the small craft shows you did were a financial loss, ask yourself why. It may be that this is not the venue for you or that your customers are not there–at least not at the ones you were at. It may be that your booth needs an overhaul or that you need to work on your sales skills.
Perhaps you’ve been wanting to secure wholesale accounts, but have been afraid to take that step. Now is the time to research the subject so that when you approach a business owner, you will do it with the knowledge and confidence of a seasoned professional, thus providing an attractive product that makes it hard to refuse.
You may want to get serious about business by developing a website, a Facebook presence and joining a professional organization. You’ll need to research, plan and work, which will take time and resources, so good planning is critical.
Have you missed the boat once again on holiday products because you didn’t start them early enough? This is where planning comes in! Think about how much time you’ll need to get a product ready to roll out and write in on a calender.
Of course, planning is essential even to hobby soapers/chandlers. Doing so will increase your productivity and decrease your last-minute stress, and who doesn’t value that?
Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions and advice, but be careful whom you ask. The help of professionals such as accountants and lawyers will be invaluable, as will your customers’ and even others in your field or other small business owners. Be careful of naysayers, however, who will dissuade you without having the basis to do so or those who haven’t the background to advise you in crucial matters. Gather up your research, opinions and advice and make your informed decisions.
Seriously considering all of these factors will serve you well as you embark on the new year. Granted, it’s actually a little late if you haven’t begun already, but better a little late than not at all!
What does 2013 look like to you?
Wishing happy holidays to all,