Guest Blogpost by Laura Wallace, Owner and Creative Director, Worx Graphic Design, based in Hagerstown MD. Laura is a branding expert, author and speaker.
The end of the year brings a lot of great opportunities to freshen up your business. It’s a time to reflect on the year behind us and plan for the one ahead. Throughout the year, files get disorganized, forms get outdated and we all have that catch-all pile in our desk somewhere that we swear we’ll get to “tomorrow”. We like to take some time to do our own in-house housekeeping to update these types of files and documents so when we return for the new year, we’re set up for success. Here are a few things to consider…
Processes are an important part of keeping a business running smoothly. Throughout the year, did you find hang-ups or opportunities where a process could be refined? Was there a sticking point in things like timelines, estimates, follow-up systems or communication? Were there steps you thought needed taken but in retrospect found out they’re unnecessary? Think about internal processes as well. Were there any areas that need defined more clearly or expanded on with better detail to help the team run smoother? Perhaps there was a scenario that was new to you or your team. Now is a great time to document that new or evolving process to help both your team and your clients.
Forms and documents
Do you use an intake form to gather information from new clients? If not, could one be beneficial to help streamline the content that you gather in meetings? Consider reviewing the questions that you’re asking and ask yourself, “do these still apply?” In your meetings, do you find that you’re asking questions that aren’t listed on your forms more frequently than the ones that are? What’s missing? What needs removed? Revise your documents so that it reflects how you do business today. This will streamline your process and help you gather all the right things at once.
Ah, the never-ending and evolving portfolio. When is the last time you sifted through and updated your digital portfolio? Are your current pieces reflecting the type of business that you want to attract? Are your photos up to date and representational of your current abilities? Have you added a service that needs visually shown? Block out some time to create new mock-ups or take fresh photos to create a cohesive look that you’re proud for people to look at. Consider all of your platforms including your website, social media, LinkedIn, portfolio sites, etc.
The new year is a great transitional time for pricing adjustments. Dig in to your numbers to find out which areas you made a profit and also where you lost. Which services need updated pricing? Are you over or underestimating your hours? Where do you feel like you’re constantly losing money? Take a look at your overall structure and define where you need to make an adjustment, whether it’s an hourly increase or if certain line items need reconfigured. Then notify your clients with the effective dates and any updates to terms.
This is a pesky little fella. Make sure the copyright date is updated with the new year. What documents or websites need updated? Contracts, forms, websites and portfolio sites are common areas that need updated.
Give yourself an opportunity to clear the desk, file that stack of papers, go through the pile that’s been creeping up on you and clear off the endless, unused files on your desktop or email. Leaving for the Holidays on a clear and organized note gives you a chance to turn your brain off and be in the moment while you’re away. And when you return, you’ll feel ready to go with all the lingering to-do items done and put away.