By Emily Sullivan, Emily Sullivan Events
This year is coming to a close, which means it’s time to put plans in place for the year ahead. As a wedding planner, this delights me to no end, but it’s not lost on me that for most business owners, it is a dreaded task.
To make things more manageable, I am going to walk you through my tried and true processes of analyzing 2017 and preparing for 2018.
Money, Money, Money
Finances are crucial to the success or failure of your business, but you shouldn't just be looking at the money as a whole. Instead, you need to break it down to find out when bookings are usually slower or what was your best time of year. When you look at these, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you discover. More importantly if you can thoroughly understand your earning cycle, then you can set realistic goals and plan for the slower time periods.
Marketing normally makes up a significant portion of one’s business, so it deserves a proper review at least annually. Carve out time to take a look back at the number of leads you received from each promotional strategy, and then see how many of those actually turn into clients.
You’ll need to have an honest talk with yourself and decide whether you truly took advantage of the tools and perks that come with your advertising packages. Did you maintain your respective online profiles? Follow up with their leads lists?
This type of analysis will allow you to make better informed decisions about what investments make the most sense to continue in the coming year.
Do not forget about the key players in your company. When I took a good hard look at my team, I realized that one of my members was exceptional at social media, blogging and search engine optimization. It is where she wanted to focus her attention, so we made the switch and it has equally benefitted my business as well as her own professional experience.
Also, get their opinions on how they feel execution of an event or daily processes can be simplified or delegated. Have them look at their productivity and schedule, and see how they think it can be improved. Take yourself and your team off-site to a retreat or lunch. Sometimes getting outside of your typical work environment will allow you to dive deeper and think clearer yielding exceptional results for a fruitful year!
Before the start of the year, I always like to look at the calendar year ahead and see how it is shaping up. This will allow you to plan out a better work-life balance of knowing what months you are already overextended so you can plan around it. You can also see if you need to hire part-time employees to execute everything without sacrificing quality of work.
If you are looking to make the process even easier for 2018, I suggest breaking it down throughout the year. My team and I meet seasonally to discuss how we can improve and to reevaluate procedures. The worst thing is when you go an entire year struggling, when little things can be tweaked and changed to make it a more prosperous year for you.