Setting Yearly Business Goals
Although 2004 was a good year in terms of business, none of that success can be attributed to planning or strategy. In an effort to better myself and my business, I am officially setting business goals for 2005.
Over the past few years, I have been slowly learning how to more efficiently run a freelance business. For awhile, when I was early in the game, I was freelancing full time from a rented office, charging too little and scrambling to find clients. With no business experience, I was a pilot who didn’t understand the plane’s controls.
Fast-forward to the present where my ears aren’t quite so wet. Now that clients are starting to come to me (something I thought would never happen), I have become more discriminating in my business practices—who I retain as customers, what projects I take on and being more responsible with income.
By just about any standard, 2004 was my best year to date. Not only was it the highest in billings, but I also acquired several great clients and phased out some less appealing riffraff.
Interestingly enough, none of this was due to planning. Around December, I got to thinking I had spent most of the year jumping from project to project without any thought to business strategy, future income or personal goals. I sent out only one promotional mailing. I didn’t upgrade a single piece of equipment. I never looked past the current month.
Maybe I didn’t have enough time. Maybe I was subconsciously doing something right. Maybe I just didn’t want to deal.
As a designer struggling with the business end of creative, this is flat-out unacceptable. So in an effort to get 2005 on track to be an even more successful year—and in an effort to be a better freelancer—I am hereby declaring several goals for the new year:
- Year-end billings will be up 20% over 2004. This is not open to negotiation.
- I am going to send out a minimum of three promotional mailings. In addition, I am going to send out a Holiday card at the end of the year. (I totally suck for not doing this before.)
- I am going to acquire at least one new client through these mailings—not through a referral.
- In total, I want at least three new clients. New client business will account for at least 10% of the year’s billings.
- 5% of billings will go toward new equipment. Gosh I’d sure like a new laptop.
These are not “New Year’s Resolutions.” They are Business Goals, and I’m posting them here for two reasons. First, I think it’s important to spell out these goals in writing to solidify my thoughts. Second, by posting in a public space, I am much more inclined to follow through and report back at the end of 2005. Which, of course, I promise to do.