Intro by Skip Cohen
Near the beginning of 2016, Nicole Begley shared the post below. I modified the opening sentence to “2019,” but the truth is, it’s perfect for November. Yes, I know it’s the busiest time of year and hopefully, fourth quarter seasonality is going to bring the year to a profitable close, but you still have to think about the new year.
There is no break in building your business. As a small business owner, you don’t get the luxury like our favorite television shows – you don’t get to end the “season” with a finale episode and return in three months with a new series!
Your business needs to run all year long and right now there’s nothing wrong in maintaining a little focus on the future. Nicole Begley has shared some terrific ideas to help you plant a few seeds to start 2019 off in the right direction.
By Nicole Begley
Do you have a marketing plan for 2019? There is NO SINGLE marketing solution and there is NO marketing technique that will work in every market and in every business.
Successful marketing involves getting eyes on your business and work constantly in many different outlets.
Potential clients often have to see your brand 17 times before making the decision to work with you. 17! Here are just a few options for getting your work in front of more people, which leads to more bookings.
- Evaluate your website
- Manage a database of your clients and potential clients
- Create an email marketing schedule
- Donate to Silent Auctions
- Create a charitable marketing campaign with a charity partner
- Co-market with other businesses that share your target client
- Send out press releases when your business has newsworthy announcements
- Set up a table at a local community event – collect email addresses in exchange for a complimentary session!
- Be involved in your community
- Stay in touch with previous clients
- Create a referral program
- Give Be My Guest cards to select people in your network
- Blog regularly
Once you get more inquiries make sure that you have a solid plan on converting those inquiries to clients! Need help managing all of your marketing plans and details? This is how I use Trello.
What is your average sale per session type? How can you increase it? Does your pricing need a little tweak or an entire overhaul? If you are charging less than $50 for a desk print and wanting to run a low volume studio then I am willing to bet that you are in need of a full pricing overhaul.
How are you selling your work? I believe strongly that if you are selling your work online you are leaving money on the table. Please consider giving in-person sales a try.
Every expense that goes out of our business is money that could have been in your pocket. Look over all of your expenses from the past year. Do you have reoccurring subscriptions that you don’t really use?
Even $10/month adds up over the course of the year, especially when you cancel a few of them!
How much money did you spend on studio supplies or education? While I am a HUGE advocate for education and that is often one of my largest budget line items, it’s important that your education plan is thought out. What do you most need to work on this year?
Seek out education opportunities to move you forward in that area of your business.
Equally important is to ensure that you carve time into your schedule to implement those new ideas. You can have a head full of great knowledge and plans but if you fail to implement any of it that is money that could have been better spent….or saved!
It’s also coming up on my least favorite day of the year….tax day. I highly recommend hiring a professional CPA to assist you with your taxes and offer tax advice. The US tax code is horrendous and no regular citizen can possibly keep up with the changes and details. Your accountant can offer suggestions on when it may be advantageous to change your business to an S-Corp, allowing you to save significantly on self-employment taxes if you are bringing in and keeping enough revenue in your business.