2013 was a great year for my business. I became more established within the Plymouth business market and picked up my highest profile client among other things and I’m looking forward to another exciting year ahead.
Looking back at some specifics of last year there were several notable high points:
• Becoming more involved within my business networks (and winning an award for it!);
• Involvement in my first business show including hosting my first exhibition stand, publicity for the event, running a survey and presenting a seminar;
• Leading the launch of Plymouth Facilities Management, a new and exciting way for customers to reach trusted local suppliers and businesses online;
• Five logos featured in Design: Logo, a book published by Rockport;
• Working closely with my biggest client yet, Macmillan Cancer Support, on the launch of their updated brand identity;
• Continued work with happy, repeat customers and referrals.
You might notice money didn’t feature much in that list. Interestingly my turnover for 2013 was approximately 6.5% lower than 2012, but considering I was working five day weeks in 2012 and mostly four day weeks in 2013, even though I worked a lot more evenings, I’d say that wasn’t bad. It’s something I’ll certainly be looking to improve in 2014 but certainly doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for what I considered a very successful year.
You might notice money didn’t feature much…
Aims for 2014
Looking forward there are a number of things in the pipeline already including continuing my work with my existing clients (including Macmillan). I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions on a personal level but in business I feel it’s helpful to take stock and think about my aims. Here are my three main resolutions for 2014:
Launch my new brand identity and website.
This has been in progress since spring 2013 and I have become very aware of the difficulties involved in being one’s own client in that time! Trying to fit it into a schedule already dominated by paid work and childcare all added to the delays but progress is being made. The logo is 99% decided upon and I hope to launch the website and new printed/digital documents within the next 6 months.
The complete overhaul of the website has several succinct aims and purposes including:
• To improve the professional image of Owen Jones Design and to present a stronger brand;
• To improve UI to a modern standard, helping users to find what they want, educating them and bringing them back for more.;
• To improve legibility and consistency to encourage more readers/retweets etc.;
• To introduce calls to action – bring in more enquiries;
• To better showcase the work;
• To communicate the approach, philosophy, principles and benefits of Owen Jones Design;
• To give better credibility to Owen Jones Design as a business;
In short, although the current site has served me well in the past, I’m at a point where I would like it to work harder for me, brining in more work enquiries and communicating my business/brand values more effectively and 2014 is the year to make that happen.
Improve the way I record my admin and financial details
Simply looking through my records to analyse patterns and work out comparisons is much more of a task than it should be. I intend to adopt the use of good quality accounting software to input all my job database and invoicing, giving myself the tools to evaluate much more efficiently in the future.
Improve my income
Yes, it’s in there but it’s not the main ambition, thankfully.
Being in a position to do what I love doing as a full time occupation is an amazing blessing and one I am thankful for every day.
I love my job. Being in a position to do what I love doing as a full time occupation is an amazing blessing and one I am thankful for every day. However, as a father and husband, I have responsibilities to feed my family and ensure they are looked after. Also, as a business I strive to give credibility and value to the work I do for people and want my business to grow to a stage where I can do that better.
2014 will involve some changes to my pricing structures and some clients may find hourly rates go up a bit to a level more accurately reflecting the market. I also need to continue to become more time efficient and speed up my workflow and processes to make better use of budgets and available time. I also have a few ideas to explore for ways to find new markets and add extra value to existing clients. All these aspects should lead to an improvement in turnover and, therefore (hopefully) profit!
So along with my ongoing objective to offer great design services to help ambitious clients achieve their own aims, those are my new year’s resolutions for 2014.
What are your aims for this year?