The New Year is Just Around the Corner
Whether you like it or not, the big stores are already cramming Christmas decorations down your throat, and we haven’t even gotten through Halloween yet. This is a clear signal of the end of the year. If you aren’t careful, it will sneak up on you like a ninja assassin. Don’t let it! Here’s a few things designers can do to prepare for the new year.
1. Get all of your accounting in order.
Being on top of your accounting and bookkeeping year-round will save you from having to do an end of the year catch up session. However, this is also a good time to organize receipts, confirm the receipt of all outstanding balances and payments, and to send out reminders. You don’t want to start the new year trying to clean up issues from the previous one. That is not the way to get off to a good start.
2. Clean up your computer.
It is always good to start with a clean slate. You should do this regularly, but if you haven’t, it would be a good idea to back up your computer. I have a Macbook Pro, and I used time machine to back up my 1TB hard drive. It is simple, and it reminds me ever so often when I haven’t backed up in a while. Also, now would be a great time to go through all of your files and archive or get rid of anything that you don’t really need. This makes room on your computer, and allows you to start with a clean slate for the new year. Getting rid of the clutter and having an organized file system will really help you feel like you have a gotten off to a fresh start.
Another great aspect of this is that you won’t have to sift through old files to find the newer projects you’re working on. There’s something to be said about starting fresh each year. I never really let go of anything big, but I store it on labeled DVDs in cae I need to bring it back again. This is especially for any large projects that would take a lot of time to recreate. I can’t tell you how many times a client has come to me saying, “Do you still have the files from…?”
3. Design a Fresh Set of Promotional Materials
Creating a new set of business cards can give you an excuse to make a connection with old contacts, as well as (I know this sounds funny) get you excited about handing out your news cards to new contacts. Getting in touch with previous clients reminds them of your services, and may encourage them to go ahead and hire you for a project that they were considering. Anything that gets you talking with clients is an opening for a new project.
You can also:
- Refresh images and graphics on your website.
- Design a new email blast to past clients, current ones, and prospects.
- Send out an end of the year thank you card to all clients.
- Send out a direct mailer to your prospect list, as well as past clients.
- Attend a new networking event you’ve never been to before.
4. Send out a mailer or email to past and prospective clients.
I wanted to touch on this especially, because it can have such a great impact on the new year. Send out promotions to everyone. You can really generate a buzz, especially with past clients who appreciate your services. Update them on what you’re doing. The reason is simple. Your services are likely evolving and getting better with time. As you add new capabilities and services, it is important that past clients are made aware. They may circle back around and hire you for things that you couldn’t do for them before. When you do good work, clients will always come back and work with you over someone else, because you’ve built trust and rapport.
With a few simple gestures and a little effort, designers can get organized and can be prepared for the new year. It’s just around the corner, so getting started now will enable you to have it ready for when the time is right. In business, it is important to be proactive. What do you do to prepare for the upcoming new year? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.