Over the last few weeks, leading up to the new year, Gail Doby, of Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting, wrote a series of blogs about getting in (business) shape for 2019. Many of you, I am sure, already reflected on last year and set new goals. But some of you may be in the process and welcome the boost. Alas, the calendar year is still young, and it’s never too late to adopt new behaviors, new disciplines, and hit reset.
Below are summaries of four of Gail’s blogs. From first steps to much farther along, we’ve boiled each down to give you a flavor. Linked subititles will take you to each blog where you can soak up the details and finer points. Hopefully, your trip from here to there, gets you thinking, clicking, and acting.
Give your business a thorough check-up before you do anything else. Start by gathering the data on how your business performed this past year. Compare the data you’ve compiled against the business plan you developed for the year. Did you meet your goals? If not, where did you fall short? Try to identify weak areas you can improve upon and strengths you can build on. Apply the same process to your marketing plan. What worked well? What didn’t work so well? You want to hone in on strategies and activities that were most effective and jettison those that did not produce sufficient results.
An annual checklist of key operational tasks and duties will help get your business off on the right track and keep you focused all year long. Begin with going over the “ahas” and lessons learned from your annual review. Identify where you need to change your current business practices, as well as areas that need shoring up. Set aside time each week, each month and each quarter for planning and review to monitor your progress and modify your plans or budget as needed should business conditions shift. Add recurring business and personal commitments to your calendar, even if they are fairly routine. You don’t want to forget them or underestimate how much time they take up during your work week. This may sound like a lot of busy work, but the time you spend getting yourself organized is a mere fraction of the time you’ll save during the year from having done so.
Taking a read on what’s in store for interior design services in 2019, we are not getting any clear signals. Forecasts for the housing and remodeling markets suggest that business probably will be okay but not as good as it has been in recent years. While nothing is certain at this point, it’s always better to be prepared, so as you do your planning, prepare two budgets. One should be a baseline, Plan A budget that assumes only modest net growth for the year, around two percent or so. The other should be a Plan B budget that assumes flat or even negative growth. As you prepare your two budgets keep in mind that you are not assuming business will decline, only taking the proper precautions.
A great way to kick off the new year is by scheduling a meeting right after the holidays to align your team with the firm’s goals and objectives for the coming months. With everyone gathered together and undistracted by other obligations, go over in some detail the plans you’ve set for the year. Review the firm’s operational and financial goals. Discuss marketing strategies and objectives. And don’t be afraid to talk about your aspirations for the firm. It’s important that your staff understand not only what is expected of them, but also why. When they have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and why it matters, they can put their skills, experience and creativity to work to help make it happen.
LEAD BLOG PHOTO: DesiLu Photography