I’ve always thought of December as an underrated time for planning and reflection. Other people think about their holiday comings and goings (ok, ok. I think about all of that too!). But as a small business owner, there’s no more valuable time to reflect on the outgoing year, note strengths and opportunities, and see what you can change or build upon for the following year.
So how can you reflect on the year gone past? Easy. We’ll walk you through it. Grab some hot cocoa and put on some toasty slippers – we’ve got some thinking to do.
Take Inventory Of…Your Inventory
Think back on times throughout the year when you were running short of a given flower or filler. Now ask yourself – why was that? An easy way to categorize this is by thinking of it as things you can control vs. things you can’t control. For instance:
Things you can’t control
Nobody – literally nobody – could have predicted that a boat would get stuck in the Suez canal (guess what! THAT WAS THIS YEAR.) Sudden supply chain issues were out of everyone’s control. If this impacted your stock – you can definitely give yourself some grace and compassion here.
Things you can control
Ok so – supply chain issues are certainly worthy of a free pass in the early days. But now? We know there are supply chain issues. It’s a known fact. So what you can control here is ordering well ahead of time to ensure your stock remains consistent regardless of project. To do so will take a keen analysis of your most frequently used sola wood flowers vs. when during the year you use those flowers. But the fact remains: you should be ordering your MVPs yesterday.
Review The New
Take a look at what new things you did this year – new products, new events, etc. Make a list of all the successes and “failures” (more on this word in a moment) for each. Then, analyze what led to the successes (client service? New designs?) and see if you can replicate those.
Do the same for the “failures,” but instead of seeing you can replicate them – see how you can pivot from there.
Oh, and the reason for the quotation marks around “failure”? Because there’s no such thing. Instead, think about it as a lesson learned and data to build your next attempt from!
Look To The Future
Of course, the future is unpredictable (think about all those plans you had in late 2019.) But trying to anticipate future trends is part of the job. And part of that is to always push yourself. Always strive to be better. As a business owner, the minute you feel comfortable or content, your business is done. You need to grow.
So how do you grow? Easy. Well, easier said than done. Take stock of where your time and attention is going. Peel away the least productive things. Now, reapply that newfound time and attention to something new: customer outreach, marketing events, things like that.
Finally, always try to keep an eye out for upcoming trends. Check out Pantone’s color of the year and stock up on paints of that color (as well as its complements and contrasts). Review the Pinterest trends and react accordingly. Your job is to track down predictions, and then make reacting to those trends a core tenet of your 2022 strategy.
Make a New Year’s Resolution
We’re going to contradict ourselves juuuuuuuust a little here. Reflection on this past year is important. But it’s also challenging. Think about it: what were you doing on, say, April 23rd? What lessons can you learn from that date?
One valuable practice to consider is changing your mindset to analyze your business throughout the year, rather than saving it all for one month.
In other words, consider conducting analysis at the following times:
After Craft Shows
What product sold out? What products were there a surplus of after? What booths were constantly busy? Were there any trends you saw from other vendors?
After Product Launches
What products were instantly liked/shared/purchased? Was there zero feedback on anything? Can you adapt the latter items to bring in interest?
After Wedding Contracts Were Signed or Not Signed
If not signed, is your language clear and are your expectations reasonable? Did you do enough work with your potential client ahead of time so the contract was easy for them to understand and sign?
Again, it’s best to try and gain understanding around these things when the memories are still fresh in your mind!
These steps will help put you in the mindset of constantly growing, challenging, and changing your business. With a little reflection and constant evaluation, you can unearth the data to truly make your brand soar in 2022.
Good luck, and happy crafting!