It’s the end of the calendar year, and sales may be slowing down – but there is plenty to do to prepare for 2014 to be your best year ever!
1. Look back over this past year to evaluate what worked for your small creative business, and what did not. Did you achieve your goals? What efforts were most successful? What would you not repeat? What did you learn?
2. Look forward by visualizing big picture goals that you want to reach for your business and the lifestyle that you want to live. Write these down as a long-term vision and also your vision for the next year.
3. Set goals for the upcoming year, and write them down. Then, break these down into smaller goals by quarter, month or even week, so that you can check off your list as you complete them.
4. Plan your attack by creating a calendar with weekly and monthly activities that will move your business forward. A marketing calendar, for example, is a great way to keep yourself continually motivated to reach customers, and stay consistent in your message.
5. Add new designs to your collection. Most successful artists who wholesale offer 30% new products each year to waiting retailers who want to offer fresh, exciting goods to their customers. This is the time for product design and development. Be ready to break out of the gate right after January 1st with a solid collection of new products.
6. Prepare marketing materials for the upcoming year, with discontinued designs deleted and fresh new products professionally photographed and ready to promote and sell.
7. Check your inventory so that you can build stock of your bestsellers during the slow season, and pull discontinued designs.
8. Make sure you are protected by reviewing your records. Do you have appropriate business insurance, and are you clear on what is covered? Are all your copyrights registered?
9. Plan your upcoming shows, both wholesale and retail. Your yearly evaluation should allow you to eliminate shows that did not produce. Review upcoming fairs and festivals, and start to plan a schedule that works for you.
10. Have professional photos taken of your work for jury purposes, marketing purposes and for your website. Consider having videos made as well, to share on your site and in your booth.
11. Review your website to make sure it’s up to date, and make any revisions. Is your collection completely represented? Are all links working? Make sure to add ©2014 to all your website pages.
12. Connect with potential sales reps. This time of year, reps are re-evaluating their lines, and may be looking for new collections to represent. With new reps on board, you will need to provide them with samples and/or marketing materials before the end of the year.
13. Schedule assistance to strengthen and improve your business. Do you need a mentor to help evaluate your business plan, or create strategies? Would a virtual assistant be worth the investment for marketing and social media help? Do you need a good webmaster to build the website of your dreams?
14. Clean and organize your studio and office. Clear out all the clutter you’ve been meaning to get rid of, and set the stage for a successful upcoming year with a clean, orderly and inspiring place to work.
15. Take some time off to enjoy family, friends and holidays. A little vacation or R & R time is a great way to unwind, refresh and get ready for a terrific new year.