Forget RESOLUTIONS. The best thing you can do for your business is to start your year with a PLAN. Business is slow for most portrait photographers in these first months of the year, which makes it the perfect time to get organized, evaluate the state of your business, and make a plan for the year ahead.
So what do you need to do for your business to start your year out right? Here are some of the tasks that I tackle each January to ensure success in the year ahead.
Start 2016 Right
1. Look back at 2015 – What worked, what didn’t, what do you want to do differently in year ahead? Try doing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).
2. Review Your Books – Is there anywhere you overspent last year but could save money this year? What was your best selling product? What was your worst selling product? What were your slow months and can you plan some additional marketing to make them busier this year?
3. Revisit and Revise your Business Plan – Have your goals changed or your plans to get there? Make sure that your business plan reflects that.
4. Create Your 2016 Marketing Plan – Choose your marketing activities for the year, and schedule them on your calendar.
5. Tweak Your Systems – Are they working for you? Anything you need to do differently? Do you need to update your Workflows, Phone Scripts, Client Questionnaires or Email Templates? Do you still need to create any of these?
6. Update Your Pricing – Do you plan to offer a new product this year? Do you need to make some changes to your collections (maybe you discovered your best selling items when you reviewed your books and want to create a new collection to include those items)?
7. Update Your Contracts and Business Policies – Did you run into any problems this year that could be addressed with a new policy or clause in your client contract.
8. Update Your Website – Get your best, latest work up in your galleries, make any necessary changes to your pricing, services, or other copy.
9. Set up a New Hard Drive – And while you’re at it access your back-up plan. A great resource for setting up a back-up plan is Photography Concentrate’s Backup or Die Guide.
10. Clean Up – Lastly, start the year out fresh. Get your studio and office clean and organized. Throw out, sell, or giveaway anything you aren’t using. Tidy up your print and packaging area and supplies, re-order supplies you are low on. Go through all your loose receipts and paperwork. File what you need to keep and trash what you don’t. A clean space will make you feel amazing and ready to take on the year ahead.