As in the rest of life, Christmas and the lead up to it can be an overwhelming time for handmade and creative businesses. There was the run up thinking about what your seasonal products were going to be and how you planned to promote them, then there were products to actually produce and finally, we hope, lots of sales and orders to fulfil.
With the new year, may come an urge to slump in an armchair and relax. But in business as in life there are other things to think about – in particular some new year’s resolution to make.
And as January tends to be a bit quieter perhaps you’ll have time to make a start on them as well.
- Update your website – make sure you’ve removed any Christmas offers, references or messages. But also think about whether your website is working for you as well as it could. Make a plan about what needs changing and whether this is a long term plan or just a simple quick fix. If they are quick fixes, set aside some time to do it now. If not, write a plan for the changes and work out when you will have the resources to do it – remember any changes should bring in more sales so you should think of this as an investment decision. How much resource – money and/or time – can you put in?
- Think about the year ahead. What shows will you be attending and what diary dates – Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, etc – will you be promoting your wares for? Look at the whole year like this and try to forecast how much stock you want to sell for each. This will not only tell you when you will need to do extra making but alert you to any cash flow issues. If you need to make a lot of stock for a particular show you may need to spend extra on materials but the income will be some time later. It is better to be aware of this early on and see how you can plan to mitigate this.
- Set yourself three business targets for the year but don’t make them all financial. So one could be a sales target but others might be introducing a new product or range you’ve been thinking about for a while or working on you PR to get messages in a particular magazine or reviewed by a certain blog, while the final one could be about making sure you don’t work 14 hours days 7 days a week.
Once you’ve made these resolutions write them down and either stick them above your desk or put them somewhere safe and put a reminder in your diary to look at them every month. That way you can regularly remind yourself of your aims and see who you are getting on. But don’t beat yourself up if you are not achieving everything right away, this is a guide for your year not your only measure of success.