Hey business owners - let’s talk about your business goals!
Like most small business owners, I wear a lot of hats on a daily basis. Not only do I design homes, but I manage all of my own finances as well as juggle various aspects of marketing and online presence with with my husband, Justin (who is conveniently a digital marketing strategist and one of the most valuable assets of Fuchsia Design).
Being a type A, goal-oriented person, there are two big things that make me ‘tick’…
So, it’s pretty obvious that I would combine the two and have a ‘list of goals’ for the calendar year. Personally, I find it helpful to write them down at the beginning of each year, and then revisit them after each quarter to see how I’m doing. As business owners, these little checks and balances can help keep us accountable throughout the year for our long-term (and short-term!) goals.
When you review your goals, here’s some questions to ask yourself –
Are there certain goals that I’ve been avoiding because they freak me out?
Am I ignoring some because they seem too far out of reach?
On the flip side – are there goals that I have already achieved that I mark off the list? (…because if there’s anything better than a list… it’s marking something off of it!)
Being that it is nearly the end of the year, I’m currently working on my list of goals for 2016… and boy are they exciting (by exciting, I mean terrifying – naturally)! As you begin putting together a list of goals, here’s the ones I set for myself this past year for inspiration!
1. GET PUBLISHED: I decided in January that 2015 was going to be the year that people began to recognize the name Fuchsia Design. Whether it was through word of mouth, being featured in Parade of Homes, Instagram, Facebook, the design blog, or through published articles featuring my business, I was determined to become a known design firm in the industry. All-in-all, it was an exciting year. While the Instagram page rose to nearly 1000 followers, and over 2000 people walked through the house I designed in the fall Parade of Homes, Fuchsia Design was also featured in the Grand Rapids Business Journal and Rapid Growth Media. Here and here are some links to the articles.
My suggestion to you is two fold. The first is to determine one area to really focus on. For example, this upcoming year I’m going to focus on my PR. I’ll still maintain the Facebook page and the Instagram page, but I’m going to really hone in on getting my work published in design magazines and continuing to get the Fuchsia Design name out there. If you go into the year with a million social media goals like increase instagram followers, periscope regularly, post on Facebook every week – you’ll never have the time to do everything well and something will suffer. Focus on what will help you achieve your long-term goals the most – and go from there!
My second suggestion is to get a PR person, if your business can afford it. They know all the right people to contact and have more experience getting articles published, arranging speaking engagements, or whatever it is you do! I always try to focus on what I do best, and let someone else do the rest (now if I could afford for someone else to do my accounting, I’d be all set!). If you’re in the West Michigan area, I recommend Craig Clark from Clark Communications.
2. RE-LEARN SKETCHUP: Sketchup is a 3D rendering program that designers often use. I taught myself how to use the program while I was in college, but I had not used the program since graduating, and quickly forgot how to use it. I wanted to dedicate a portion of my year to re-learning the program in hopes of integrating it into the services offered by Fuchsia Design. Did you know that Kendall College of Art and Design offers continuing education courses year round? It’s amazing! I was able to take a five week course in Sketchup to help refresh myself in how to use the program. If you’re interested in the other courses offered, check out their continuing education page here:
Learning a new program is a great goal to set for yourself for the coming year. With technology constantly changing, learning photoshop, excel, or whatever program it is that will help you in your business is a great way to stay current and continue improving. If you’re not in the West Michigan area, look into your local college for continuing education programs. Typically, you don’t have to apply for the college like normal students do – you just sign up for the class! Plus, my 5-week class was only $150!
3. INCREASE REVENUE BY 15%: As a business grows, it’s important to plan accordingly in order for the team to grow as well. This typically requires a business to have an increased revenue to cover the costs of future salaries. 2015 was an exciting year for Fuchsia Design, and our overall revenue up 40% from 2014. Back in January, setting a goal for 15% revenue increase seemed like an intimidating goal, so this year I’m aiming even higher. While it is indeed a lofty goal, I’m currently going into 2016 with a goal to increase revenue by an additional 60% from 2015. Set your sights high and plan big!
When it comes to finances, I decided to complete one of my 2016 goals early. All summer long, I kept saying, “next year I’m going to put myself on a salary!” When fall came, I thought – what the heck am I waiting for? Doing so has been one of the best decisions I’ve made so far as a business owner. Prior to doing so, I always set 30% of my income aside for taxes, paid open invoices, and took the rest as profit. Each month, income fluctuated and it was very hard to plan ahead. My personal monthly expenses rarely fluctuate, so why should my salary from month to month? We all know that business goes up and down and some months are busier than others. September was my slowest month to date, but by putting myself on a salary, my bank account never knew. When you plan ahead, your business can be more prepared for unexpected expenses or slow months.
Currently, I’m trying to build a six month cushion so that if, God forbid, I get sick or am in a car accident, the business income can still sustain itself for six months. This coming year, I encourage you to take a look at your income and see if a salary is something that will work for your business!
4. BETTER TRACK BUSINESS EXPENSES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR: If you’re a business owner, chances are – you’ve been there. It’s the end of March and you’re sitting on your couch with a bag of receipts from the year before swearing you’ll never let yourself get behind on expense tracking again. That was me last March, except this time – I followed through! On January 1st, I signed up for an account with Freshbooks, and it’s completely transformed my business. Not only do I use it to track every single expense for my business as I go (and will likely have a larger tax return this year because I haven’t missed anything), but it allows me to take a picture of each receipt so I don’t have to save a big bag of receipts anymore. I’ve up to date on all expense tracking the entire year, and it feels amazing! I also use Freshbooks for invoicing my clients and tracking my time. On the iPhone app, there’s even a feature where I can start a timer when beginning a task, and then it automatically bills the client for that time when I invoice at the end of the month. So, if I spend 13min and 36 seconds on a task, they get billed for exactly that amount of time rather than rounding up to 15 minutes. There’s multiple different subscription plans available so you only pay for what you need. Check it out and get started by January 1st so that your entire 2016 year can be tracked in one spot! (*this wasn’t a sponsored advertisement from Freshbooks, I just really like them, yo!)
5. SEEK OUT NEW INFORMATION ABOUT RUNNING A BUSINESS: So, I’m no accounting expert. Not even close. BUT – I do all my own quarterly tax payments, invoicing, balance sheets, 1099’s, blah blah blah… As a creative, it bores me beyond belief, but hey! I’m doing it! While I didn’t take an actual business class in 2015 like I thought I might (Maybe in 2016?), I’ve made a valiant effort to seek out webinars, podcasts, and books that continue to fill my heads with new information to master this whole ‘running a business’ thing. Not many of us have run a business before, so by making it one of your yearly business goals to seek out new information, you can make a conscious effort to read that new book you found, or listen to the podcast on your phone. I love listening to the Being Boss podcast and really enjoyed reading Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso. Maybe a last minute item to add to your Christmas wish list?
So – there you have it! My 2015 goals all laid out and exposed. What did I miss? Are there goals you’ve set for yourself that I should consider for my 2016 list?