End of financial year and start of a new financial year calls for champagne and cake! Cake all ‘round, with another round of coffees, yes thanks.
With or without a company, team, or board to approve these extravagances (all hail to having no board!), it’s time to press pause on your workday, take your laptop on an excursion, and do a mid-year review on your business.
Start with cake.
Review your best clients
Your best clients are those who spend the most, receive the most value from your services, refer people to you, and are a joy to work with.
Review where your best clients came from. Did someone refer them, who needs to be thanked (with cake)?
Review your marketing
It’s easy to get complacent, doing the same marketing month-in, month-out. The half-way mark is the perfect time to review what’s working, analyse why, and drop what isn’t.
This is a good time to change up your ads, your social media channels, and refresh your website with new images, or introduce a new marketing channel, such as Facebook Live. Like art, marketing tends to blend into the background after a while, so make sure you’re changing things up regularly.
Don’t keep adding to an already-full pile. Subtract what isn’t working, investigate what you don’t have data on, and make changes based on numbers, not guesses.
Review your pricing
Your prices should go up in accordance with inflation. But don’t forget to review your pricing in conjunction with all your offerings: from premium-priced, VIP offerings, to entry-level offerings.
Some of your prices may go down while others go up – just remember, if something isn’t selling, it’s not necessarily because it’s too expensive. In fact, raising your prices may make it easier for you to sell certain things.
If you have trouble sticking to a price that you’ve set for yourself, and frequently charge less than what you intend to, then there’s a few things you can do:
- Put your prices on your website
- Ensure you always take a brief and send a written quote and don’t allow yourself to get into casual “ballpark figure” conversations
- Practice saying your pricing out loud to yourself
- Set yourself a minimum price – the lowest amount that you’ll take a client on for
- Write your pricing on paper and display it prominently, where you see it several times a day, every day, until it becomes normal to you
- Find another business offering something very similar to you and charging far more – keep this information handy and refer to it regularly when you feel you’re losing your nerve.
Review your schedule
Schedules need reviewing regularly when you’re self-employed, to make sure that you’ve got the best possible conditions for success. This includes what time you start work in the morning, what time you finish and how you delineate this time, what days you work, and what activities you’re doing at what times.
In brief, you want to be doing creative and planning work when you’re feeling your best, and less intensive, less creative, more mundane work when you’re feeling less-than-stellar.
Ideally, phone calls should happen in the morning, so you don’t put them off for another day, and you should avoid reaching out to anyone at the beginning and end of the week – Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.
If your work is mobile, requiring travel, make sure that you’ve arranged your schedule to be as efficient for you as possible.
Review your long-term goals
Nobody likes delayed gratification. No normal people, anyway. It’s very common to set big goals at the beginning of the year, feel guilty when you remember them, and then set the exact same goals again next year.
Your long-term goals require delayed gratification. And when you’re a busy business owner, it’s easy to tell yourself that these goals won’t put food on the table. But in the cold light of day, you set them for yourself, right? Nobody forced you to decide you needed to do this.
So now it’s up to you to make these happen. Use the carrot, and the stick. Know what makes you tick, and how you can manipulate yourself to do what you say you want to do. Break down the goal into chunks, and break down those chunks further. Now apply the carrot, and the stick, and the carrot, and so on.
Plan for profit
You can’t hit an income goal if you don’t have a goal in the first place. Set your income target first, then write your profit plan.
If you’re not already working with sales targets, here’s how to start:
- Decide on how much you want to earn per year. Not how much you think is ‘reasonable’, or how much you think you should earn. But how much you actually want to earn.
- Add tax on top.
- Tally up how much time off you’ll need each year. Be realistic. I aim to work 44-48 weeks out of 52.
- Now divide your goal (which includes tax) by the number of weeks you work in the year. Now you have a weekly income goal. This goal is revenue, not profit, so be careful!
If you haven’t yet got an online accounting system that enables you to quickly and easily see how you’re tracking, it’s a great time to start. Whether you go for Xero, Quickbooks, Rounded or another option, online accounting software helps you access data quickly and easily, so you can make informed decisions.
Once you’ve done your mid-year review, book yourself in for a CEO date – that’s Chief Executive Officer date, not Chief Everything Officer date. A tired mind cannot create something remarkable, so remember that productivity and self-care are intimately related, and book yourself in for a massage, a holiday, or a deliciously-full weekend with friends and family. Whatever floats your boat. It’s your business, after all.