Last time we discussed what we’ve accomplished in 2013. Maybe you even took the time to print out the free printable to note down all the great things you’ve done last year. If not, think about it! Before moving forward, it’s important to reflect on what your goals were in the past, what you checked off the list, and where you fell short. At least for me, it gives me a much needed kick in the pants to jump start my goal planning for the next year.
Thus, it’s time to think about 2014 (yes, I know 2014 started like…a month ago…I guess my kick in the pants wasn’t quite hard enough!). Putting your goals for the year in writing holds you accountable. It’s hard for me to remember whether I successfully met my goals if I can’t even remember them in a few months!
To get the juices flowing, here are some pointers to think about regarding your creative business’ goals:
- Start with your business’ finances – When we think about business goals, the first thing most of our minds go to is probably the dollar signs. It’s easiest to start b examining the dollar signs from last year and making goals related to your business’ finances, and most likely and specifically, your sales. Think about how much money you’d like to make with your small business in 2014 and go from there (but make it realistic yall!). That being said, don’t forget your expenses. The sales side is important, but if you spend a boatload on supplies, shipping stuff, or advertising, then all that cash outflow is going to negate your cash inflow. Think about how you will control expenses this year, and plan accordingly. Think you can reduce shipping expenses by buying mailers in bulk twice a year instead of running to the post office every week?
- Next, look at your non-financial numbers – Facebook fans, repeat customers, Instagram followers, Etsy shop stats, whatever applies to you. How can you boost these numbers?
- Come up with action items for all these numeric goals. If your plan is to increase revenue, what will you do to increase those sales dollars? Will you advertise in a new venue? Will you offer a new line of products? Create gift sets at a higher price point? If your goal is to encourage repeat customers, how will you entice them? Offer coupon codes with a purchase? Send a personalized note or free gift? Explore all your options. The more doable actionable items you can think of for each goal, the higher your chance of accomplishing it. As I said last year, don’t set yourself up for failure. Examine what you achieved in 2013 and be realistic about 2014. What were your sales, expenses, and profit like last year? If you plan on tripling revenue this year, you best have a plan to get there! You can’t just make it a goal to triple your sales, your revenue, or your facebook fans (that’s called wishing, not planning) without thinking about how. If those are your goals, come up with some concrete, doable action items that will help you get there.
- Again, your goals should be specific and measurable. Don’t just say “I want to increase sales”. Come up with an actual benchmark dollar amount (like “I want to make $5000 in sales.” or “I want to average $2000 in sales per month.”). Giving yourself specific benchmarks will increase your motivation to reach them. Plus, they make it easier to measure whether or not you were successful.
- Don’t forget about business-related goals that might not be apparent right away just because they aren’t related to sales or numbers. Do you need to simplify or get organized? Keep better records? Do you want to acquire a new skill, like take better product photos, learn Photoshop, or write blog articles? For example, my business goals will include sorting through and re-organizing all my jewelry-making supplies and cleaning up my inventory tracking spreadsheets. I also want to get better at continuously and consistently listing new items in my Etsy shop. Meeting these goals will make my life easier and my business more organized, and thus will indirectly improve my sales and boost my business!
Here’s a basic four-page worksheet to record your 2014 goals. Feel free to print and include in your creative business binder. There’s a space at the top to include your business name. I split the worksheet into four categories of business goals, and each table has space for you to write your specific goal, how you will measure your success, the goal’s deadline, and any action items you can do to achieve it. Click here- 2014 Goals Worksheet – My Creative Business or on the pictures to download the free 4-page printable.
- Increase sales revenue
- Increase number of sales
- Increase sales on particular venues (Etsy, shopify, own website, offline, craft show, local, etc.)
- Increase average revenue per order
- Increase orders of multiple items
- Begin selling in X amount of boutiques or shops
- Participate in X number of craft shows
- Financial goals:
- Increase profit (net income = sales revenue less expenses)
- Decrease expenses
- Keep better inventory records
- Consistently track expenses, sales, inventory, supplies, etc.
- Improve records for tax purposes
- Improve pricing formula
- Boost profit margin
- Marketing goals:
- Increase facebook fans or twitter followers
- Increase Etsy views, hearts, etc.
- Increase blog/website/e-newsletter subscribers or views
- Increase number of blog posts/facebook posts/tweets each week or month
- Develop your own website/blog/e-newsletter/direct mailing list
- Make the frontpage of Etsy X times
- Get published in a print or e-magainze
- Guest post on other blogs
- Participate more in Etsy teams or other forums
- Make X amount of Etsy treasuries
- Get featured on a specific relevant website
- Leave business materials in X amount of local businesses
- Other Business Goals:
- List X amount of new items on Etsy each week/month
- Develop X amount of new product lines this year
- Revamp your logo, brand, website, shop, etc.
- Redesign or develop your business cards, custom catalog, etc.
- Learn more about specific business topics, like SEO, HTML, product photography, bookkeeping, etc.
- Complete your creative business plan.
Write your goals down and keep them in a visible place. Throughout the year, you should take time once a month or once a quarter to review your goals, determine your progress, and adjust as needed. Seeing your goals will give you the kick in the pants you might need every now and then to get back on track.
What are some of your goals for your creative business in 2014?