I am setting my goals a little later than usual this year so I am sorry if you are totally over new year goals by now! I am normally so excited for a new year and can’t wait to set some goals for my business, however this year for some reason it has taken a week or so for me to feel ready to think about it. In all honestly one of the reasons for this is that I ended 2019 feeling a bit despondent and disappointed. I set myself some pretty big goals for 2019 and I didn’t achieve a lot of them. I also let comparison to others get in my way and I could see lots of other small businesses sharing their achievements from the year and I ended up feeling a bit inadequate. So I decided not to beat myself up and have given myself a little bit of time to think about my goals for this year and now that I have set them I feel so much more motivated and ready to take on new challenges.
Before I get onto those I want to talk a bit about comparison because it is something I have struggled with quite a bit over the last year and it has really stood in my way at times. I am a big supporter of other small businesses and am always so happy for their successes big or small. I have made some great small business friends over the past couple of years and have watched them grow which has been amazing. But at the same time it is sometimes difficult when you see them growing quicker than you or selling more products or being more successful than you. At times this has stopped me moving forwards and taking chances as I have felt not good enough. But I know that this is totally normal when you are doing something on your own and that what you see online is not the full reality, it is not easy or plain sailing for anyone. We all put a rose tinted version on things online, we share the good and the wins and not the lows as no one really wants to hear the negatives. It’s important to remember also that everything is subjective and when I say that something is ‘selling well’ or my ‘best seller’ it will mean something different than when another business says it because it is only relevant to my ‘normal’ sales.
I know that the comparisons and feeling not good enough won’t stop overnight but it is certainly something I want to work on this year. I don’t want to let my fear of failing or not being as good as others hold me back. I also want to continue to be as honest as possible with you (without moaning or being negative) about what running a small business is like and how that it can often be difficult and isolating because this can be really helpful and reassuring to others who are in the same boat. In 2018 I used to write down achievements each month in my planner, even the small things and this really helped me to see how far I had come and so I am going to start doing this again this year.
I have seen lots of people talking about their ‘word of the year’ to focus on in their business and I really like this idea and so bearing the above in mind my word this year is BRAVE. I want to take more changes and move things forward in a number of different directions in my personal and professional life and for that I need to be brave.
Another thing that I have learned over the last year is what products work and what don’t for my customers and my business. This is something that I will continue learning all the time as I design and release new products. But as a result of what I have discovered over the past year I have decided to discontinue all of my prints and focus more time on designing wooden and acrylic laser cut products. I love painting and designing prints but there are a lot of prints out there on the market and I feel that I want to focus more on the laser cutting as that is what makes my business unique and those are the products that you love the most. I am going to be spending a bit of time over the next few months looking at all of my products and refreshing things.
Here are some of the other things I will be working on this year:
Reduce/stop using plastic packaging – the aim is to stop using it all together but I still have lots of packaging in stock that I don’t want to just throw away so I will be reducing throughout the year with the aim to stop all together.
I want to grow my stockists, I reduced this in 2019 as some weren’t working for me but I would like to work with more shops both physical stores and online. I will be working on my wholesale catalogue to make my prices clearer to shops that are interested
I would also like to do more markets this year, I found some that I really loved last year and would like to build on this and do more. I have already started to book some so watch this space for what is to come this year
Introduce brand reps on Instagram. I need to do much more research into this before I launch but if I feel that this is something that will work for my business and there is enough interest in it then I will taking on a small selection of brand reps on Instagram to help me to promote and share my business which is really exciting
I want to continue to create unique signs for small businesses and expand on this more into different kinds of signs with different kinds of businesses. So far I have been creating logo plaques for businesses like mine which I am loving but there is so much more than this that I can offer so I will be working on building that too.
I want to learn more about Pinterest and use it to help promote my products. I absolutely love Pinterest and have used it for years to search for ideas for my house, activities when I worked in nurseries, hairstyles etc etc but I definitely don’t use it very well for my business so I will be spending much more time over there learning how to do that.
I have lots of other ideas and things that I want to work on but I am not going to make the same mistake as last year and set myself an unmanageable number of big goals and then feel disappointed when I don’t achieve them. Looking at most of my goals they are just building on what I have already started so there is no ‘New Year New Me’ statement going on her just more of the same only hoping that with my hard work it continues to grow and get bigger and better! Despite feeling a bit negative about it all the beginning of the year, 2019 was actually pretty amazing and for my second year in business I am really grateful for how far I have come.