So, did you block a day over the next few weeks to reflect on your business' operations in 2015? I hope so, because in today's post, I'm sharing five important pieces of information you'll want to gather so that you can really take stock of how your year has gone.
Hopefully, all of this data is already at your fingertips, although - as is the case with many creatives - wedding pros aren't always the most organized when it comes to business stuff. That's why I'm using this post to give you a heads-up of what you'll need to make the most of your reflection session later this month. Remember, you'll only get out of this session what you put into it, so you'll want to be prepared.
So...here's what you need to have ready:
1. A breakdown of your business expenses in 2015. This should, of course, include all your standard operating expenses like office or studio rent, money paid to contractors or employees, advertising/marketing costs, supplies, travel, etc. However, it's also a good idea to gather a list of any personal expenses that may have been incurred as a result of your work - for example, if you and your family find yourselves eating out all the time because you're so swamped in your business, or if your child-care costs are through the roof due to networking events, that will be useful to know.
2. A copy of your business budget, if you have one. If you prepared a budget for your advertising, operations and/or any other expenses in 2015, good for you! Be sure to have that handy when it's time to do your reflecting - you'll want to be able to see how well you stuck to it, and what changes may need to be made going forward.
3. A breakdown of where your clients came from in 2015. Hopefully, you're asking every inquiry how they found your business, and are keeping a record of what they tell you. You should also be tracking your website traffic so you know where your site visitors are coming from. The idea here is to be able to calculate your ROI on your advertisements, wedding shows, etc., the effectiveness of your referral relationships, and the performance of your website. This will help you make more strategic decisions for next year.
4. Everything that relates to your branding and marketing. You'll be analyzing all of this very carefully this month, so gather copies of any printed collaterals, promotional items, print advertisements, and similar tangible items you've used to market your business in 2015. Also, be prepared to pull up your website, any online ads or listings, and each of your business' social media accounts when you complete your reflection session.
5. Your 2015 calendar. You'll want to know how many weddings you worked, but also how much time you spent networking, meeting with clients, traveling and anything else that took up your time this year. Knowing how you spent your time in 2015 will enable you to decide proactively how you want to spend it in 2016.
Gather all of these things now, because they'll provide you with information you can leverage when setting your goals for a more productive, profitable and purposeful 2016.
Be sure to visit our blog next week when we share the specific strategy you can use in deciding how effective your year was, and what action you need to take next year!