8 Ways Every Emerging Designer Should Prepare for 2014
- Reflect on 2013. What has truly worked (don’t lie to yourself!) and what hasn’t? How can you improve how you run your business and become more efficient? Set aside some time to think about this and write it down. Make lists that include your growth and the challenges you faced. Celebrate the wins and reflect on the losses. And use all of that information to decide how you want to proceed into 2014.
- Marketing. You can have the greatest product in the world but if nobody knows about it, you won’t have a successful business. Do you have an actual marketing plan? Just a note, social media presence is not a marketing plan. What events are you going to participate in? What speaking engagements are you going to take on? What contests and giveaways do you plan to host? Will you go against the “norm” and introduce new pieces or mini collections on a different schedule (great way to market yourself differently). You need a plan that goes beyond posting on social media.
- Learn how to measure. Don’t have Google Analytics set up yet? Not OK. Start setting goals and tracking your efforts so you understand the impact you’re having and where you can improve.
- Stop freaking out about the word “Budget”. You need one. To run a successful business, you need to have a budget in place. It allows you to plan accordingly; know what you’re able to do and how much you need to make/raise in order to do all the other things you have in mind like awesome marketing campaigns, growing your team, and launching new collections.
- Profit vs. Revenue. Did you make money last year? I’m not talking about makes sales. Because sales don’t equal profit. Did your company actually make a profit? If not, what needs to change (besides making more sales) to make sure that next year, you do? Where can you trim expenses, how can you improve and streamline operations? Even if you did make a profit, still take the time to see what improvements you can make in order to grow that profit.
- Say thank you. Take the time to thank those people who have helped you get this far. Your customers, your advisers, your family, your friends, your collaborators. Starting a business is never singular, you rely on others more than you realize.
- Work backwards. Where would you like to see yourself and your business this time next year? Create your ideal situation and work your way backwards to set milestones on how you see yourself getting there. This is not something that has to be set in stone but instead use it as a motivational tool.
- Reboot. Allow yourself some time to relax. I took off the entire week of Christmas. I read historical fiction, watched action movies, and ate my weight in cookies. It was awesome. You don’t need to take a week if you don’t want but take at least a day or two to relax and do the things that make you happy.
Every year we’re given this feeling of renewal. While we can technically renew any old time we very well please, there is something about a fresh year that brings a clean slate, new ideas, and a feeling of determination. Leverage that feeling to create the business you really want.
Can you imagine how great it would feel to reach those goals?