With 2022 kicking off, it’s time to pause and reflect on the successes, struggles and lessons from the previous year. According to Adam Coffey from Forbes Magazine, “It’s imperative for entrepreneurs to do an end-of-year performance review. Lately, unforeseen world events are causing major disruptions in what we do. Reassessing lessons learned to make adjustments for the coming year is critical.”
During 2021 while you were still up against COVID, you also took on natural disasters, shipping delays and shortages, and rising costs. But there were some bright spots too-kids went back to school generating more business, you became an expert on social media broadening your customer base, and you increased your inventory. No matter what your highs and lows, one thing is for sure-it’s been an eventful year. Let’s look back at 2021 and what you wanted to do, what you did, and what you are going to do in 2022.
What did you WANT to do with your small business last year? Did you set goals? There’s no denying the importance of business goals. Goals provide direction, motivation, and a clear way to measure your progress. Without goals, you may struggle to find the path where you are right now to where you want to be. Review the goals you set and compare them to what you completed in the past year. Reflect on your biggest successes and celebrate them. What was your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?
What DID you do in 2021? Dig a little into your analytics for concrete and specific information. Hopefully, you kept accurate records or used a software program that can help you pull data.
FINANCES: Look at your gross revenue (total income prior to any expenses or deductions). What was your net revenue (gross revenue minus expenses and deductions)? Was your yard card business profitable or did you take a loss? How much did you spend on inventory and what do you still need to purchase? How many total bookings did you have?
MARKET TRENDS: How many total bookings did you have? What was your busiest month, and can you pinpoint why? (graduation season, promotion you ran, marketing, etc.). What was your most requested color? How many Birthday, Anniversary, Baby, Graduation, Holiday set ups did you do?
SOFTWARE: What software or systems did you use to operate your business? What digital platforms did you use and were they beneficial? Was your marketing successful, why, or why not? Are you doing your own business taxes, or will you hire an accountant or CPA?
Now that you have looked back on your last year in business, it’s time to get excited about a new year and start planning. What are you GOING to do in 2022? According to the Chamber of Commerce, poor planning is the 2nd most common reason that small businesses fail, coming in behind lack of funding. With that in mind, do you have a business plan or strategy? (week 2 & 3 blog posts). What training or learning do you need? Perhaps, it’s taking a class from another yard carder that you follow. Maybe, it’s mastering how to create Reels on Instagram or elevating your Tok-tok videos. Or possibly, it’s tackling Acuity or a new scheduling tool. No matter where you want to take your business in the next year, it’s time to start setting SMART goals (week 4 blog post), and planning ahead.
Don’t forget to join Yard Card Business Support and Supply Facebook group, if you haven’t already. You’ll often find additional information, tips, and videos from other Carders. Also, don’t forget to check back for the next installment of Business Basics where we will be discussing Business Plans.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elaina Boling is the owner of The Yard Life, a yard card company in Fort Collins, Colorado as well as a processing specialist for Yard Card Supply. She is passionate about quality products, mentoring, and growing the yard card industry.