1. Get your books ready for year-end.
2. Use the information you gathered to create a test budget for 2016 using last years prices. TIP: You can create this budget using QuickBooks or you can make your own Excel Spreadsheet.
3. Check your profit margins in each area of your business i.e. lessons, boarding, horse sales, shows, camps etc.. Identify both your top profit centers and the areas of your business that are financially troublesome.
4. Schedule client meetings now (rather than waiting until January) so that you can review their goals and also gather information about what they value about your business.
5. Write value propositions for each segment (boarding, shows, lessons, camps etc.) of your business. Use a customer empathy map to help you get started and also a feature/benefit list.
6. Decide how much you need to raise your prices in the upcoming year. Base your pricing increase on a combination of three factors. First, the financial needs of your business (what it needs to be profitable). Second, what the market will bear. Third, implement a value based pricing strategy. If you have taken the time to talk to your clients and write value propositions for each segment of your business you will have a very good idea of areas where you can price according to value.
7. Set growth goals for both your career and your business. Since you have already identified the most profitable areas of your business in step 3, you can make an informed decision on where to focus your growth efforts. Write down what resources you need to achieve your goals – i.e. a new truck, horse, replace arena footing etc..
8. Write down your typical sales processes for each area. For example: How did your last customer find you and what follow-up steps were taken in order for them to turn from being a prospect into a customer. Look for areas where you can actively progress the sale by having the right marketing materials and a well thought our follow-up strategy.
9. Create a marketing plan and marketing budget for next year. We recommend marketing in 90 day increments and using a marketing calendar so that you can measure the effects of your marketing and make adjustments as necessary.
10. Update your website and social media channels so they are consistent with your current branding, newly clarified value propositions and for a fresh look for the new year.
11. Identify opportunities to increase your expertise. Make a list of clinics, coaches or other training/educational activities that will help you hone your skills as an equine professional.
12. Schedule down time. Put it on your calendar for next year now. Taking vacations (even mini vacations) will keep you fresh and far more able to excel in your career and business.