See how you can get organized, communicate efficiently and demonstrate your value to your clients with the ROI Sampler.

Don’t you just love the switch to a new year? It’s probably no surprise to you that I love cleaning out the old and organizing to make way for the new—in my work, in my processes and even at home.

I’m looking to make 2018 my best business year ever! I invite you to take these tips to make it your best business year, too!

1. Review documentation
To make sure I get started on the right foot, I take inventory of all my company documentation including client contracts and reference materials. I archive documents that I no longer use, update those that need it and ensure all my digital files are cleaned up and ready to go for the new year. This little bit of time at the end of the year is well worth it for my attitude and efficiency!

2. Set goals for your business
Even though the annual tradition of resolutions and goal setting used to leave me a bit anxious (read: I despised setting goals!), I knew I was supposed to make goals. Setting goals for the new year is an important step in making 2018 your best business year ever!

But, let me tell you how I go about setting annual goals for my business. Instead of one big lofty goal (or several aggressive ones), I set up good, better and best goals.

Good: Totally do-able goals

Better: Probably do-able

Best: A HUGE reach (You’d all be invited to my celebration party!)


Before I implemented this system, I felt like resolutions set me up for failure. They are so black and white. 100% or nothing. If I don’t do exactly what I write down, then I’m nothing but a loser. Logically, I see that is ridiculous, but internally, I felt terrible about my lack of achievement.

That’s no way to sustain forward momentum in your business or your life. We’re human after all and that means we’re nowhere near perfect.

In my system of good, better and best goals, I recognize my positive effort even if I don’t quite attain the big, hairy, courageous goals. A quick note: I do think it’s important to reach for those bold milestones, but if you don’t quite reach them, the way goals are set up, you still make progress and feel accomplished.

Here’s an example (we’re pretending here) to illustrate.

Instead of the crazy, unattainable goal: “I’m going to make $10 million dollars in 2018.”

Phrase the goal as a range:

Good: “I will make $500 by selling two consulting packages at $250 each.”

Better: “I will make $10,000 by selling 10 consulting packages at $1,000 each.”

Best: “I will make $50,000 by selling 25 consulting packages at $2,000 each.”

Once I know where my destination is, I can create a plan on how to get there. By outlining my goals in this way, I can figure out what needs to be in a consulting package to differentiate the $2,000 one from the $250 dollar one. Then, I can figure out how to market and get those different consulting packages sold.

Do you see how it works? Even if I don’t reach my BEST goal, I have my Better and Good goals to be my back-up. Now, this makes me excited to set some goals (thanks to Todd Herman, who I learned this trick from).

3. Check-in with your team (including trade partners and vendors)
At the end of the year (or the very beginning), it’s a natural time to check in with your trade partners to thank them for their collaboration in this year and to see if there is anything you could do to make your working relationship better. You never know what little piece of advice or insight you’ll get by having this conversation to make your collective work better.

4. Update your marketing plan
Every design business should have an annual marketing plan in place at the start of each year. It should include the big shows or initiatives you are planning to keep your design business at the forefront of your customers’ minds. From being a guest on a podcast to your blogging schedule, a little bit of prep work at the beginning of the year will set you on the path to success.

5. Drop what’s not working
Cleaning out the old is also about dropping products or services that no longer serve your business success. Maybe you had a stellar idea this year to offer an online design service, but it never really took off. First, evaluate if it’s worth your time to revamp to make it successful or perhaps you’ll determine that it ultimately isn’t the right fit for your business. It’s OK and actually highly recommended that you drop things that aren’t suited for your business so you can have the time, energy and resources for the things that do.

I’d love to hear from you about what issues you’d like me to provide solutions for in 2018! Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

I cannot wait for 2018! Here we GOOOOOO!