In the wedding industry, winter is often referred to as “slow season” but if you’re a business owner, you know it’s anything but slow. Winter is the time of the year when we have to take care of all the back-end administrative tasks we don’t have a chance to do during busy wedding season. January is an especially busy time because it’s when we refresh our businesses and update everything for the new year. Here’s a checklist of just some of the tasks I recommend doing for a fresh start in the new year:
The Small Business Owner Slow Season To Do List:
• Reflect upon last year’s goals & set new goals for 2020.
• Box up/scan all 2019 receipts + create a new box for 2020 receipts.
• Finish up/proofread 2019 bookkeeping records – make sure categories are accurate and no expenses have been missed.
• Record your Jan 1st odometer reading (& subtract your 1/1/19 reading to get your 2019 total miles driven). Finish up mileage records for 2019. Start a new log for 2020.
• Use this time to network and actually go on those coffee dates with industry peers that you didn’t have time for during “busy season”.
• Take new headshots & stock photos, if needed.
• Update contracts – add/modify any clauses that need changing, make sure all contact information is up to date. Create new contracts for any new offerings + delete any contracts for services you no longer offer. (Archive all old contracts just in case.)
• Update packages – consider raising your prices, adjust your package structure to accommodate any common requests/trends you’ve been seeing. Create new packages for any new offerings + archive any old offerings.
• Update workflows, if needed.
• Backup & create an organized archive for all past documents – past client galleries, past contracts, past invoices, obsolete templates, etc.
• Backup & delete all unused files from your phone.
• Run a Time Machine backup of your computer, back up all of your blog files, and backup any important text/information/copy from “rented” sites (sites you don’t control or have autonomy over such as: Instagram captions; Facebook posts; reviews on The Knot, WeddingWire, Google, etc.) or any other valuable content you could lose.
• Uninstall any phone apps you infrequently use.
• Delete unused/temporary files from your computer (ex: CleanMyMac 3 – system junk, log files, caches, temporary files, mail attachments, etc).
• Update/change passwords, especially for high-risk sites.
• Send out 1099-Misc forms to any contractor who earned $600+ from you in 2019. Due by Jan 31st to recipient, due end of Feb to IRS.
• Submit 2019 Q4 Estimated Taxes by Jan 15th.
• Remit 2019 Q4 Sales Taxes, if necessary by Jan 22nd.
And some extra tasks for photographers & videographers:
• Clean and organize all equipment. Clean all camera sensors. Send any equipment to get serviced or repaired, if needed.
• Make sure all equipment is labeled (with your name/contact information), especially any new equipment.
• Take inventory of your “arsenal.” Upgrade any equipment that needs it. Purchase any new equipment you’ve been needing.
• Take a look at your upcoming 2020 jobs. Make sure all tasks & workflows for each client are scheduled and on track.
• Update website – change any copy that needs updating, change pricing/upload new package PDFs, add new “best of 2019” photos, remove any “less favorite” photos.
• Update photos on online storefronts such as The Knot, WeddingWire, Yelp, Google Maps, etc.
• Send images to your favorite vendors you worked with throughout the past year so they can cross-promote you during their booking season.