It’s the beginning of a new year . . . full of the promise of exciting work with new and old clients and customers, challenging projects, interesting alliances, and increased revenue.
We all know that we have to be organized by creating a outlined plan with written measurable SMART (specific, measurable, realistic, timely) goals.
But first, It is time to reflect on the old year’s triumphs and successes and the not-so-good decisions by conducting a year-end audit of your:
• employees/vendors/independent contractors
• networking events attended
IMPACT! organizes its findings on a spreadsheet and in documents to outline thoughts and findings in answer to the following questions:
I. Your customers and clients
a. Which ones did you like working with most? Why? (go beyond “They paid on time” or were “fun”
More importantly: Which ones appreciated and understood the value of your work?
Questions you might consider:
- How many employees do they have?
- What is their gross income?
- Who do they serve?
- What is their philosophy on employee morale? On community support?
- Do they share the values that YOU value
b. Which ones didn’t “get it”?
Why was that? Is there a way that you can “Educate them on the importance of your services/products”? (If they haven’t discovered your value after working with them a year – they might not ever….. so do you end the relationship? Pass them on to someone else?)
c. Which ones were ”hell on wheels” – you had to drag them along… they never adhered to your deadlines, never made a real decision, kept changing their minds and never seemed to progress forward. (You are permitted to “fire” clients.)
II. Products and Services
• How long did it take you to complete each project?
• Include ALL Time – thinking at the computer, thinking while sleeping, thinking while driving, thinking while talking to others; Talking to the client on the phone – that you didn’t bill.
• How much did you bill for each project?
• What was the true income/hour of each project?
• Did you have to sub part of it out? How much did you pay your vendor?
• Which products/services brought in the most money? Which products/services brought in the most money/hour? (Not always the same.)
• Are your products/services still relevant? Are people still “buying them” – the old standbys? Or are they seeking out new services/products that you have to sub out?
• Should you train to complete those projects yourself? (Learn new skills?)
• How much time and money will it take for you to learn how to offer a new product/service? Is this feasible?
• Who is the market for your products and services?
III. Outside vendors
Audit ALL outside, 3rd party vendors that you paid in 2012.
Remember, if the client is paying through you and you are paying that 3rd party – YOUR gross income includes their money. I know that you can expense it for some tax purposes, but some entities base your fee/tax/license fee on your gross income – and that includes the money that you pay others. You must make their money work for you… don’t consider yourself a “pass through” – or just tag on a few dollars to their bill.
• How much did you pay them?
• How much income did you bill for their work?
• How much REAL income did you realize from each of these associations? (Did you add fees for your time on top of their fee?)
• Did they meet your deadlines?
• Did they offer value to your clients?
• If they left tomorrow, would you be able to pick up and handle it all on your own?
IV. Every Networking Event you attended
• How many people did you meet at each one?
• How did you follow-up?
• Were your prospects there? (People who will pay you and who are your ideal clients)
• How much did each venue cost you – in REAL money. Add up all dollars spent and ALL TIME including the time prepping, attending and following up with everyone…. You can use your dollar/hr figure here, if you want.
• So how much did each venture “cost you” – or how much “income did it bring in”. Don’t include your “hope” of future income because it didn’t come in this year – you can place it in the year you received it.
It’s important to conduct these audits to identify where you should spend your time in “income producing” activities.
IMPACT! offers consulting services that will assist you with your audits and help you to identify your ideal clients and prep you for your meetings with them.
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