With the end of the year rapidly approaching, I've been reflecting on my business and how it has changed and grown more in 2016. It's natural to look back and notice things that I should've done differently and mistakes I've made along the way, but I've also realized that I have made several important investments in things that helped CIE continue to grow. I wanted to share a few things that I have used to propel my business forward, that I am certain will help your business grow more too!
1. An Accountant.
Confession- I am horrible with crunching the numbers. Math has never been my strong suit, and since I started my business, it's been me making "educated guesses" on my projected income, expenses, etc. Once I hired an accountant, she has really helped me make sense of the numbers, and I now know where I need to make adjustments for next year! It's always nice to have an un-biased, third-party take a look at your books- you may be in for a big surprise, once all your expenses are tallied up alongside your income! Knowledge is power, friends :)
I've already written a few posts here and here about how much I love Honeybook for my small business organization, so I won't belabor the topic, but it's truly a game-changer. It's so convienent to have clients view service proposals, electronically sign contracts and pay invoices through the same system. And the fact that it's beautifully branded, and easy-to-use makes this system one I couldn't run my business without!
This is another software that I pay monthly for, but it's totally worth the investment! One thing people seem to dread with owning a small business is preparing for taxes each year, and Quickbooks makes that process MUCH simpler. My accountant still handles a majority of the Quickbooks analytics for now, but I love how it automatically syncs to your business banking account and inputs transactions for you- so all that's left for to you to do is classify your expenses. Now, you can even set up Honeybook to automatically sync with Quickbooks, to make tracking clients even easier, which is a total win-win!!
Squarespace is the website builder that I used to build CIE's online home. This has proven to be an invaluable investment for my business, since Squarespace hosts my blog, portfolio, reviews from past clients, a contact page and more. It's important to have a beautiful and creative online presence for your small business, since that is often the first interaction potential clients have with your brand! I know Wordpress and ShowIt are also very popular platforms that many in the creative industry use.
Throughout the year, I made it a point to invest in several educational opportunities that would help me continue to grow and learn new strategies and techniques from others! Some of the more noteworthy classes or workshops I attended and/or participated in and highly recommend for other floral designers are:
- Intrigue Designs Business of Flowers Two-Day Workshop, in Annapolis, Maryland
- Team Flower Online Classes on Floral Design Business Sustainability and Growth
- 1 on 1 mentoring
- Assisting other experienced designers on weddings
With a floral design business, it's important to have an inventory of vases, vessels, larger items like arches, candles, and more that brides can rent or purchase from you for their weddings! I focused on creating an inventory this year that my brides love (so that means LOTS of gold), and I wanted to be sure to have some options to compliment different wedding themes and styles! Some of my favorite places that I found my inventory are Accent Decor, Jamali Garden and Michaels!
All of these things have tremendously helped me grow my business this year, and I would be happy to share additional information or answer a question- just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org !!