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Hi! I’m Lucy.
Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2023? As they say, “the days are long but the years are short.” I love this time of year – it’s a fresh start for personal and business goals. I think the best way to start the year off right is with a year end business review. Time to see what you did last year so you can make plans for the new future ahead!
Personally I think you can say Happy New Year for as long as you like. 😁
Here are some tips for conducting a year end business review. You want to use your time wisely, and come away with information that will be helpful. No need to waste time gathering information that doesn’t matter, right?
Okay, let’s go!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
A full review of your business year is going to take some time. Don’t just jump into it – set time in your schedule to get the job done. Depending on the nature of your business, you may need more than one session to complete the review.
This isn’t the time to cut corners! Yes, we’re creatives so we want to be CREATING. But you’re also a business owner, and reviewing your past year’s performance is truly critical to your success.
Light a candle, pour yourself your favorite warm beverage, sharpen your pencils and dig in!
I know you take your business personally because it IS personal. You make your products with your hands and creative mind. But when it comes to reviewing the year, you need to be objective.
Step back and look at your data without emotion. Identify what worked well, and what needs improvement.
And stay positive! You’re doing this so you and your business can be better than ever. Every shortcoming is a chance to improve.
With taxes coming up (sorry!), you’ll need a good handle on your books anyway. This is a great time to make sure you have all income and expenses accounted for.
Create a high level spreadsheet that tracks your sales and expenses by month. Then figure out your profit for each month as well. This is a great way to see seasonal trends in your business. You can also see if your expenses are “creeping” up.
If you’re noticing your profit is low (or not there), it’s time to make some changes. You’ll need to lower expenses or raise your prices (or maybe do both).
Take a look at your social media accounts. Did you see an increase in engagement? Were there certain platforms that your Perfect Customers were MIA on?
Going over your social media can help you make sure you’re spending your time wisely. No need to continue to post on Instagram if all your customers are on Facebook.
Why not track followers and likes? Because vanity metrics don’t do much for you. The number of followers and likes you get doesn’t tell you much about your audience. But if you’re getting comments, click-throughs to your website and saves of your posts, you’ll see that you’ve got a great following that loves what you’re doing.
Yes, it’s time to take a good look at your “babies”. Write down your best sellers…and your flops. Try to find trends in your sales. Do the same types of products sell well? Maybe you’re popular during a certain time of year.
Look at not only the number of sales per product, but how much revenue each one brought in. Also track how much time it takes to make the product, and how much your costs of goods are.
I feel this step is the most important part of a year end business review for handmade businesses. We love what we make, so sometimes it can be hard to accept that something isn’t working.
But being able to objectively decide when a product has past its prime is a bit step toward building a successful business. Go you!
This is the fun part! Time to set up goals for your business, using the information you gathered during your year end business review.
Set goals for your sales, social media, craft show attendance and new products.
I’ve got more great tips for planning for the year in my blog post that you can read here.
It can be easy just to keep plugging away at our crafting, but taking the time to do a year end business review will truly help your business thrive.If you’re just getting started with an online craft business, check out my new FREE download: Online Selling Must-Haves for Makers! It’s everything you need to know in order to start selling your handmade items online.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!