As we count down the last days of 2012, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year’s successes and challenges and determine what valuable lessons we can take from 2012. However, reflection without a plan of action is wasted thinking, so here are five things you should be doing in December to give your event / wedding planning business the best chance for success in 2013.
1. Finalize your sales and marketing approach for engagement season
The period between Christmas Eve and Valentine’s Day sees by far the largest number of engagements of any period during the calendar year, so now is the time that brides and grooms are starting to shop for someone to help them realize their wedding dreams.
This means that you should have a plan of attack set up before people start banging on your door for meetings and quotes. A few things you should have in place include:
- Lead generation tactics – Prime your referral network, reach out to previous clients and make sure your emails and Web site reply forms are working properly.
- Marketing materials – Print out extra business cards, update your Web site, put up some new blog posts and investigate any advertising opportunities (online or print).
- Sales materials – Create a few new case studies, dust off your samples, rehearse your pitch and update your proposal templates.
2. See if you can lower your taxes for 2012
It’s possible you can lower your 2012 taxes by pre-paying tax-deductible items like a business mortgage / lease, office supplies and samples, association dues or fees, insurance premiums and the like. In addition, if you are able to defer revenue until next year (by sending out invoices after Jan. 1), you may also be able to lower your taxable income that way, too. Consult your accountant for guidance.
3. Collect on any outstanding payments
Every year, I always have a few invoices that either slipped through the cracks or that have been dragging along. So now is a good time to call those clients and ask them when you can expect payment on those invoices. Usually they are invoices that people had forgotten about, so now is a good time to remind them that they still owe you money. Most people will be embarrassed and pay you promptly. However, if they are reluctant to pay, you can begin taking the necessary steps to have payment collected from them.
4. Put a bow on 2012 jobs / projects and discuss 2013 projects with clients
Sometimes there are projects that we haven’t had time to finish, and whether those projects are paying jobs or in-house projects, the last few weeks of the year is as good a time as any to finish them up. Although the weeks leading up to the holidays can be crazy, the week between the holidays can sometimes be much quieter, so consider that week a time to get a few things wrapped up.
In addition, many corporate clients may be deciding on their 2013 budgets in December, so you should drop them a line to see how you fit into their plans in the new year and what they have budgeted for events.
5. Choose one major area to improve upon in 2013
As a small business owner, you are often faced with too many tasks and not enough time to complete them. This requires you to prioritize and determine those tasks or projects that will bring the biggest boost to your bottom line.
So reflect on what initiatives you could undertake in 2013 to really grow your business, choose the one with the most promise and put together a strategy for how you are going to implement it.
Happy holidays, and best of luck in the new year.
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