Getting Ready for a New Year
Instead of making new year's resolutions we might not be able to keep, we like to spend our time wrapping up projects from this year and organizing for next year. We are sharing our tips for starting off the new year a little more organized and with a fresh excitement for helping expectant parents get ready to welcome their little ones.
1. Clean out your inbox. Make labels/folders for emails you wish to keep and delete those that you no longer need. If you haven't done this in a while you may spend a few hours getting caught up, but then you can file emails daily or weekly to stay on top of it. Make a label/folder of things for "follow-up" that you need to reply to or need further review, but don't tackle these things until your inbox sorting is done or you can easily get side-tracked.
2. Update your client records. If you have a system for keeping track of client information (such as a spreadsheet) make sure it is up to date through the end of the year. If you don't, create a method to collect and store client information. We have client forms in our curriculum and in our newly released "CBE Forms" download or you create a digital form using Google forms to send to new clients which easily stores their information.
3. Organize your business's financial records. Tax time is going to be upon us soon and it is important to have your business finances in order. Record and file receipts for business expenses, client payments, professional development fees and other financial items by the month. Depending on your business size, a simple spreadsheet may work for recording these transactions or you may wish to use Quickbooks or another financial software. File paperwork in folders or use a binder with tabs for each month or category or use a digital filing system to reduce your pile of paperwork.
4. Update your calendar. Spend some time entering important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, reminders, etc) so you won't miss anything in the new year. Electronic calendars offer the benefit of being able to set reminders for important dates/tasks and eliminate the need to manually enter reoccurring events such as birthdays and anniversaries each year.
5. Make updates to your website and marketing materials. Be sure you have your current contact information (phone number and email), certifications and services listed on your website and marketing materials. Update your class schedule or doula availability for the new year. Our blog "Suggestions for Your Birth Business Website" offers additional ideas for a great website that will help you grow your business.
6. Evaluate your classes and make changes as needed. Look back over students' course evaluation forms and identify any areas in your curriculum that could use an update. Remove any content that you don't have time for or is outdated. Look for fresh ways to teach concepts or update one or two visual aids. To avoid a rush or shipping delay around the holidays, purchase the resources that you will use in the first few months of the year now.
7. Review your client statistics. How many expectant mothers did you work with? How many babies did you help bring into this world? Remembering these details will help encourage and motivate you. It also helps you slow down and remember why you are in this line of work in the first place. These families are forever changed because of your help.
8. Set goals for next year. Maybe you want to grow your business by 10%, work with five additional families, or you are planning to add a new service to your business. Write down your goals for the year, identify how you are going to achieve those goals (more marketing, ask for referrals from former clients, upcoming training, etc), budget for the expenses to reach these goals (advertising expenses, training fees, etc) and identify how much time you can set aside each month to work on your goals. Then, break down your goals into manageable steps with monthly or quarterly deadlines (that you add to your calendar) so that you stay on task without being overwhelmed.
Don't let our list overwhelm you. Each of these suggestions should be done one at a time and it may take you a few hours or more to complete each one. Do one each day or one each week until you are satisfied.
We want to hear from you about your biggest challenges with your business and welcome your suggestions for how you manage these topics or any products/resources we can provide to make it easier for you. Happy New Year!
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Plumtree Baby, LLC