As year two in business wraps up for Evergreene Graphics, I look back over the year. Most people do this is some form, whether it’s personal or business. We look at accomplishments, big wins, and family events. Unfortunately, we can also beat ourselves up over goals not reached, losses experienced, or financial situations.
This past year I operated without a plan. I don’t mean a business plan (although I should write one of those, too). I mean I ran my business day-to-day, with some vague ideas of things I wanted to do. Much of the year I was in learning mode, exploring ideas, taking courses, reading A LOT, and trying to wrap my head around way too much information, coming at me from all the new resources I discovered.
But even without a “plan” I managed to get a lot done, and I decided to share a look behind the scenes. Seeing what others have done can inspire us to renew our own efforts. My year-in-review includes:
- Successful activities
- Goals reached
- Milestones passed
- Projects completed
- Opposites acknowledged
Then I started looking ahead:
- New goals
- New milestones
- New projects
- Plans to make 2015 a roaring success!
Looking Back: Successful Activities
Networking, Volunteering, and Priorities! Networking in person, introducing myself, asking questions, answering questions, and just showing up, A LOT. Sure, it’s a time commitment, but it’s worth it to me. I have new customers, many new contacts, and some growing friendships. I’ve said this more than once – there’s a huge, exciting, and supportive world outside of the corporate walls. Blinders get removed, horizons expand, and priorities adjust. Volunteering my skills and services is satisfying; I get to help others by sharing what I enjoy most. My family says I’m always so busy, but they still come first. I can’t count the times I’ve been available to help them, when it would not have been possible as someone else’s employee.
Looking Back: Goals Reached
In the first part of the year, I completed training to become a certified SCORE Mentor. I am now able to actively help others in reaching for their dreams of self-employment and small business growth.
This past Fall I received NYS Certification as a Woman-owned Business Enterprise. This opens the door to bidding on government contracts. Plus Governor Cuomo raised the state MWBE contracting utilization goal to 30%, up from 10%. Read more about it HERE.
Looking Back: Milestones Passed
I admitted I can’t do it all by myself. I broke the seal and decided to hire other peoples’ services to help in a few areas: quarterly bookkeeping and annual taxes, a lawyer to write good terms of agreement, and some website help with things I just couldn’t figure out. My time is better spent elsewhere. I believe it’s better to hire specialists, and not waste time trying to learn something new that I’ll forget before the next time I need it.
HUGE WIN!!! I officially DOUBLED my business revenue totals from 2013! WooHoo! The business is paying for itself, and there’s a small profit. Big difference from the $10K loss in 2013 with all the start-up costs.
Looking Back: Projects Completed
I keep track of all my customers and project quotes, so I can see at a glance how I’m doing. Here’s a snapshot:
- 29 new customers, in 6 states and 3 countries
- 105 new projects quoted, and I won 48 of them, so far
Looking Back: Opposites
Celebrating success is wonderful. Acknowledging what didn’t work so well helps me improve going forward.
- I sent my first non-paying customer to collections, they were also unsuccessful in collecting, and I have to write off the balance.
- I learned some lessons about bartering services, and how that affects bookkeeping.
- I’ve struggled greatly with buying a refurbished Mac, new parts, service, and a huge learning curve.
- I discovered that not all coaching programs, ecourses, and Facebook groups are created equal… expensive lesson.
- I have a terrible case of “shiny object syndrome” that is very distracting and time-consuming.
Looking Ahead: New Goals
- Triple (or more) 2014 revenues, so I can officially draw a salary
- Remodel my home office
Looking Ahead: New Milestones
- Social Media/Blog/Newsletter Plan and Calendar
- eCourse creation and launch plan
- Month-over-month email list growth
Looking Ahead: New Projects
- Bidding on and winning government contracts
- eCourse creation and production
- Guest Blogging
- Speaking Engagements
Looking Ahead: Planning!
- Dedicate time daily to planning, with defined goals, projects, and tasks as the foundation
- Start a Solopreneur Mastermind Group for growth and accountability
- Create a “Stop Doing” list
- Stop giving away my time, stop comparing, stop letting admin slide, stop rushing
- Rein in the shiny object syndrome, and laser focus on one thing at a time
- Research and make selections based on business value or personal growth potential
- Monitor and adjust the rough financial plan I created to reach my revenue goal
Do you have big 2015 goals written down yet? Do you have a plan to reach them? Share your ideas, tips and tools in the comments, and we can learn from each other!
Please share with someone you know who would enjoy this post, thanks.
‘till next time,