In a few short weeks, we will be blowing noise makers and singing “Auld Lang Syne” as we close out another year. Before this year becomes a Facebook memory, there are five things you can do to set the table for your business success in the new year.
Secret ingredients and sprinkles on top. Add things to your business that will deliver value. Can you expand your service offerings or add a team member (employee or subcontractor) to open up more opportunities? Don’t forget to assess your operating procedures. Are there tasks that can be subtracted (or streamlined) that will make life easier? Conversely, are there things you can add, such as an internal monthly report, participating in a local meet-up or actively building your thought leadership?
Substitutions are allowed. Not every recipe works well when you substitute ingredients but that does not apply to your solo PR business. You can cook up the business you want by adding or subtracting ingredients. Are there clients that you need to swap out? Low profit margin, high-irritation clients can suck the life out of you, and ruin the meal. You may have taken on a few less than ideal clients but now is the time to develop a plan so that you can replace them with clients that are more to your taste. What types of clients do you need to add in the new year? Think about the activities you need to add to gain the clients you want, and plan them into your 2019 schedule.
Stretch the batter, to your satisfaction. What’s better than the perfect batter? More batter! Expand the goodness of your business with the great clients you already have. Identify opportunities to increase the scope with your best clients. If you have not already performed your year-end business review, this is a great time to add those unmet needs to your plan for the coming year. (Solo PR Pro Premium members, don’t forget to review the new PRO only resource Client Year End Review.)
Stock your kitchen with the right tools. This is a good time to assess the tools and resources you use for client work. You may have lots of gadgets that you once needed that can now be replaced by one service/product that does it all. Or you may have things that you no longer use. Make a list and honestly assess what you need to serve your business in the coming year. If you need to add services or products, make the purchases before end of year so that you can take the deductions for the current calendar year. (Tip: If you don’t have the money now, charge expenses to your business credit card, so that you get the expense deduction this year but can pay in the new year. But be careful to not overspend!)
Mise en place (everything in its place). This french cooking term reminds us that having everything in place allows us to cook up a delicious meal efficiently and without having to stop to go grab a tool or ingredient. Take time to ensure that you have all that you need to succeed in the new year. Get your office organized. Set your Q1, six-months and annual goals. Write them down along with the steps you need to take to accomplish them. Put business development, professional development and networking activities on your calendar now. Treating them as an appointment can help to keep you accountable.
Start the new year on solid legal footing. Get your contracts in order so that you can formalize your arrangements. Solo PR Pro has a free ebook, Get It In Writing! The Communications Consultant’s Guide to Contracts, with 45 pages of advice and 9 full contract examples to help.
We'd love to hear from you. What steps are you taking to set yourself up for success next year? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or on social media using #solopr.
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