Menu, Funnel or Something More Earthy?

Menu, Funnel or Something More Earthy?
3 Ways to Think About Customer Development

To be successful, you not only need to attract customers but you need to have customers who grow with you.  Here are three ways to think about customer development.

Menu ImageMenu

A restaurant menu provides choices in categories such as appetizers, entrees and desserts.  Perhaps there are additional categories such as sandwiches, lunch specials, kids options and/or a drink menu.

Think about applying this concept to your products or services.

What is the main item – or entrée item that you want customers to purchase?  Is it your selection of organic beef cuts?  If you provide a service, is it a package of 5 consultations?

What are the other items that you would like individuals to buy with those main products?  Are your appetizers and desserts a dozen organic eggs, or a recipe book?

One of the best aspects of the menu concept is that it forces you to think in categories.  Another benefit is that it helps you recognize what you want customers to focus on (ie. the entré
e).  Thirdly you can recognize which items are still important but are an ‘add on’ to the main entrée.

Marketing Funnel ImageFunnel

Many marketers promote the concept of a marketing funnel or customer funnel.  At the top is a wide opening where you attract large numbers of followers and new customers to your business.  Because customers have to spend more money and/or have greater involvement as they move through the funnel, there are not as many customers at these higher levels.

The key is to think about how your products or services encourage customers to move through the funnel.

For example, if you focus only on lower priced options, you are not providing an opportunity for that customer to spend more money with you.  If you offer a one hour session for $97, then the next step is a 6 month package for $2,997 – that is a big leap for customers.

What I like about funnels is the idea of customer progression.  It encourages you to think about how your customers will grow with you.  Product and service gaps become quite clear.

Something More Earthy

Maybe a menu or funnel is not for you.  Well what about a pathway, or a river system, or a plant guild?Two pathways...

Perhaps you think of your customers following a pathway through the forest with you.  Or perhaps they are like water droplets running together to form strong rivers.  Perhaps you can apply the concept of a plant guild with the importance of diversity and interdependence.

How could you apply this more earthy system to customer development?  Let’s take the pathway example.  Perhaps as customers move along the pathway their knowledge increases at various stops.  These stops could be equivalent to different services that you offer.  As customers grow with you they venture further into the woods on your pathway.

If using an ‘alternative’ concept like a pathway makes you feel comfortable with the concept of marketing and developing your customers – great.

Just be sure to work in the concept of development.  How will customers grow within this system?  How will this system be strengthened over time?

Don’t forget revenue!  You do need to make money so that your business can continue.  Within your system note where your products or services fit, how much revenue they will generate, and how many customers they will appeal to.

Next step

Pick a concept and start sketching it out as it applies to your business.  This will help you identify opportunities to improve customer development!

4 Tips To Organize Group Meetings Faster

Have you ever tried to organize a group meeting?  Has it ever become a marathon session of emails trying to come up with a date and time? 

Group Meeting

Meetings are an often essential part of the marketing process.  Sometimes it involves team members tackling a specific project – like a website.  Other times it may be volunteers or committee members organizing an event.

At their worst, meetings become time wasters and hamper progress.  At their best, they can be an incredible opportunity to educate, facilitate feedback, build consensus and move forward with momentum.

In this post let’s discuss how to get off on the right foot, by making sure setting the date and time for the meeting goes well.

#1 – Decide if the meeting is really needed.

What outcome do you want from the meeting?  Take a few moments to sketch out a rough agenda.  Watch for items that are time sensitive, controversial, require votes & signatures, etc.

How important is it to gather the group?  Do members interact on a regular basis anyway?  Could the agenda items be accomplished through a simpler method such as a phone call?  Consider these questions to determine if it would be more effective to tackle the issues through one to one conversations and/or defer items to the future.

#2 – Get in a routine for regular meetings.

If you find yourself meeting every 3  – 4 weeks, then set up a routine.  For example, we’ll always meet on the third Thursday every month at 3pm.  This way, individuals can mark their calendars.  If necessary, send a reminder and re-confirm attendance beforehand.

 #3 – Set the next meeting time before ending the current meeting.

While you have everyone together for a meeting – decide on when the next meeting will be and get it scheduled.  If people are missing, set one or two tentative dates and then confirm it later.

 #4 – Use Doodle.

I love Doodle.  It’s a free online tool that works great for group meetings and is easy to use.

Before I discovered it I would send out an email with dates on when to get together.  Not everyone would respond, and there would always be those responses that were a bit cryptic.

With Doodle, I set up all of the options at once, and send a link out to those invited.  Invitees check off which times work for them, and Doodle assembles all of the responses into a tidy chart.  Sure, you may still need to track down some people to respond, but it’s very clear which dates and times will work best.

A couple of extra Doodle specific tips…

Use the ”yes / if need be / no option.”  This allows invitees to indicate which times work great, and which times are ok but not preferred.

When you send out the link asking people to respond give them a 1-2 day deadline.  It’s important to get feedback and set the meeting date and time quickly – before schedules change.

With these tips you should find organizing your next meeting to be a much more enjoyable experience!

 

Are you underestimating your marketing costs?

Setting a marketing budget and estimating costs is always challenging.Hand filling jar with coins.

Often when we think of the word ‘cost’ we think in terms of money – dollars and cents.

In terms of marketing, we may think of cost as the fee to book the newspaper ad or the cost to have a display at a health fair.  But let’s take a moment and think about some other types of costs.

Indirect costs, the cost of your time and opportunity costs are less obvious but still important to consider.  These are the ones that often get missed, and leave us underestimating marketing costs.

Direct vs Indirect

Think of direct costs as those expenses you are completely aware of.  They are obvious.  You took time to consider them.

Indirect costs are often those where you go….”oh yeah… I hadn’t thought of that!”  These are the costs that are a little less obvious and may appear out of nowhere.

Example 1 – A Conference Booth

For example, you decide to have a display at a regional Mom’s conference.  You are a nutritionist who specializes in allergies in young children and it seems like a great fit.  You sign the agreement, and send the booth fee of $250.

A couple of weeks later you start planning what your booth will look like.  You decide to create a banner.  There is a great tablecloth at the home décor store that will complement your look exactly.  How will people remember you – maybe a postcard?  Don’t forget the money spent on lunch, parking and transportation costs.

The banner, tablecloth, signage, pens, postcards and other items are what I would consider indirect costs.

Example 2 – Social Media

For the second example, let’s think about your social media profiles.  You are a busy organic farmer – you rarely have time to stop and sit down in front of your computer.  Without your mobile phone, you would be hard pressed to take photos then find the time to download them and post them.

The cost of your phone, and the resulting monthly fees are now an indirect marketing cost.  Perhaps you use your phone for other business purposes as well, but consider at least some of those mobile phone costs as related to marketing.

Tips…

Think through each step of how a promotion will be completed.  Try to predict as many costs as possible. 

Budget for unexpected costs. 

Keep records of all costs even the unexpected ones.

Recognize that as you become better at recognizing costs, you’ll likely consider more of the ‘indirect’ costs as direct costs.

Time Cost

One of the things about marketing these days is that there is a wealth of low to no cost ways to market your business.  Social media is again a great example.  For no cost you can have a Facebook or Twitter account and reach hundreds to thousands of potential customers.

However, it will take time (lots) to have a successful social media presence.  It will take time to

  • decide what you want to focus on
  • get the necessary photos
  • write and edit what you will say
  • respond to comments
  • analyze results

There is a time cost to any marketing initiative – including events, publicity, e-newsletters and blogging.

Tips…

Track the time you spend on marketing. 

Watch for ways to be more effective with your marketing time.  For example, practice re-using your content.  Once you have written a blog post – pull Tweets and Facebook posts from it.

Opportunity Cost

This is the cost of not doing something.  If you decide to not attend the Mom’s conference or not have a Facebook profile, how many leads or sales will you miss out on?

This is a very subjective cost and hard to define.   Experience from similar promotions in the past can help you predict.

Tip…

Recognize that businesses market for a reason – to grow their sales.  Although it is important to choose efforts carefully, if you don’t do any marketing or your marketing efforts get sidelined there is an opportunity cost.

The main lesson… being aware of ALL of your costs helps you make better, more informed decisions!

3 Ways Your Accountant Can Help You Market

Did you know that your revenue and expense records can help you market your product or service?

Due to government requirements most small businesses like yourself keep detailed records about your finances.  But these records can be used for more than filing your taxes.

Here are 3 ways you can use your financial records to benefit your marketing.

Know your true marketing costs.

If done well, your books will provide a detailed list of any marketing related expenditures including those you may forget.  Sure you might remember the upfront cost to have a booth at a tradeshow but your records will help you identify the other related costs such as parking, printing and signage costs.  With this information you know the true cost for participating in the trade show.  In the future you will be better prepared to make decisions about this and other related opportunities.

Use the past to help plan for the future.

Look through your list of marketing expenses.  Which ones would you like to continue doing because they resulted in revenue and other positive outcomes?  Was it the series of ¼ page ads in your local newspaper or the free workshop you gave on menu planning?  Schedule and budget successful activities into your coming year.  Discontinue those that were not successful.  Also look for seasonality trends in your revenue.  Consider marketing efforts to promote increase revenue at slow periods while ensuring peak periods remain supported.

Which products or services sold the most?

Analyze sales information to understand which products, services, distribution channels are contributing the most gross revenue and net revenue.  Perhaps your course “Backpack Essentials” is very popular, but doesn’t contribute very much to your net revenue.  Review pricing.  If your e-book “Camping Essentials” contributes a lot of net revenue per unit but isn’t selling well – plan to increase your marketing efforts of this book to increase sales.

Once you take a look at your numbers from a marketing perspective you will discover a gold mine of information.

Ready, Set, Germinate!

If you reflect over the past year, how did you make decisions and promote your business?  Did you often find yourself stressed and unsure of what to do?  Did you try to ignore marketing and then found yourself scrambling and reacting?

When you react to things it often creates inconsistent marketing and can be very costly.  When you take time to plan ahead it is less stressful, you’ll make better decisions and be more effective at reaching your goals.

Just as seeds need water, oxygen and the right temperature to germinate, you need a plan in place to help your business grow.

What I often find is that green inspired business owners simply don’t have a plan.  They have an idea of what they would like to achieve but never solidify it by writing it down.  The problem is that without a plan on how to make that idea work it never happens and is doomed to failure.

Planning doesn’t need to be scary.  You don’t need to spend weeks and have a 25 page document at the end.

Here are 4 steps to creating a plan.
  • Set a revenue goal.
  • Decide what you need to do to reach that revenue goal.  How much produce will you need to sell?  How many workshops will you need to offer?
  • Schedule in the revenue generating activities on your calendar.  In which months will you sell your product?  When will your workshops take place?
  • Decide on how you will promote your product or service.  If you need to sell pumpkins in October – what promotional efforts will you need to do before October?  If your workshops will take place on April 15th – when will your promotional flyers be ready?  When will you start promoting it through your e-newsletters?
Need more tips?

Want to build up some energy and motivation to tackle planning?  Join me for a free teleseminar on December 11th on this topic.  Visit the events page or click here to register. 

By the end of the call you’ll have started your plan for 2013 using a template I provide.

Get Ahead of the Chaos! Filing and organizing tips.

It happens to everyone – you get busy and papers pile up.  You can’t find that important email in your inbox filled with hundreds of emails.  You constantly use the find function to locate files on your computer.

Most importantly…. set up a filing system – paper, email and on your computer BEFORE you need it.

Life is busy, and if you have to stop and think where something should be filed, you are less likely to file it properly.  If you have folders already set up – it’s so much easier to file it away.

Think in categories and sub-categories. 

Not only will this help you to organize your files better, it helps organize your thoughts and actions too.  For example, start with broad categories such as finding customers/marketing, creating or preparing what you sell, wrap up – analysis, accounting/bookkeeping, organic certification.  Sub-categories of marketing might be… e-newsletter article notes, e-newsletter open reports, price signs, website updates, list of passwords and logins, etc.

Approach your paper file folders first.

Look at your current files.  Create new files for the coming year for folders that are always needed. For example, expenses, farmer market paperwork, conferences, industry statistics, budgets, blog topic ideas, etc.

Create multiple folders for the new year to replace the ones that have become thick during the current year.  For example, instead of having a folder for all of your farmers markets – create a folder for each market you are involved in.  Maybe you separate the topic by category.  For example – farmers markets contracts, farmers markets sales records, etc.

That stack that has built up on your desk, kitchen table or corner of your floor… tackle it.

Find a large space where you can sort all of these papers into piles.

For important papers create folders for each of these categories for the new year.  This will help this pile from building up again.

Take a look at the papers from the pile.  Could you avoid having this paperwork completely?  Perhaps some items could be kept electronically or you vow to bring home fewer brochures or free publications from that next industry show?

At the end of this process you should have a fresh set of file folders for the coming year.  This way when you have something to file it’s quick and easy to file it quickly.  When important paperwork is in it’s place it’s easier to find.  When you repeat certain projects in the future past records will be easy to reference.

An alternative to file folders.

Another option is to use binders with tabs.  The benefit is that all paperwork stays in order and doesn’t fall out.  The downfalls are those extra seconds it takes to hole punch the paperwork and that they can become bulky if you need to carry them.

Don’t Forget Email and Your Computer

Although you can use search functions to look for files on your computer or that important email – it’s best to be organized in the first place.  This will keep your inbox cleaner because you will be able to move important emails to folders for future reference.

Use the same process as above to assess your current files and to create folders for the coming year in advance.

An Example

Becky teaches local food cooking classes.  Some categories to consider are listed below.  Depending on how many classes she offers and the number of students she may want to create one folder for the categories, or create folders for each sub-category.

Planning – budget, to do list, timeline

Ideas

Marketing – Weekly calendar of activities, Online promotion, flyers

Logistics – location, insurance, packing checklist, contact numbers list, shopping list

Course – Presentation, handouts, recipes

Registrations

Post Event – thank yous, surveys, analysis

It won’t be perfect but it’s a step in the right direction.

There’s no doubt you may need to add folders as you go through the year.  You can’t predict everything.  But having at least some folders set up will get you started and each your folders and filing will improve.

Don’t know where to start? Learn from Wayne Gretzky.

Being a Canadian girl who thinks there is something almost sacred about the sound of blades on the ice as well as having spent many hours as a child skating on the frozen pond behind her house… I like hockey.  So many years ago when I heard this quote from hockey great Wayne Gretzky it stuck with me.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Moving forward with your business and taking action can be terrifying.  The fear of failure may be looming.  But at some point you need to make decisions and get started.

If you don’t market or communicate about what you do – you are not going to find any customers.

Here are 7 steps to get moving.

#1 Do some planning.

What are you trying to achieve?   Decide on some goals.  Who is your target customer?  What steps do you need to make it happen?

Sorry that was a lot of questions…  start simple, your answer to the above might be…

I want to sell $1000 in homemade soaps this year.  Expected target customer is female 20s to 40s, lives in the area.  Steps needed – make soap, have an open house, participate in weekly community market.  As you think about these you can expand them further.  For example, call the market manager, decide on prices, purchase boxes to hold the soaps, print labels.

Maybe it’s something more involved…

Goals – Increase sales of vegetables at market by 50% + confirm 2 restaurants to purchase vegetables.  Target customer is market shoppers (estimated to be mostly female – moms w young children & 50+) and upscale restaurants with focus on local food.  Steps needed – grow more vegetables, find extra field help, start earlier and end later at market, approach 10 restaurants, have business cards ready, make list of available vegetables and expected pricing.

The important part here is to start thinking and writing down what you want to accomplish.  Start thinking of all the steps needed to make it happen.

#2  What marketing or promotional efforts are needed to support your goals.

Make a list of as many as possible.  Some may be completely unaffordable such as advertising on TV – strike these out.  Rate the remaining options on how well they will help you reach your goals and target market, the ease of doing them, time required to complete them and their expense.

#3  Check your top options against your budget.

Don’t undertake expensive marketing efforts that will exceed your financial comfort zone.  Don’t feel pressured to sign up for advertising campaigns because they are a special deal.

#4  Rough out a marketing plan.

Using your top options map out how you will do them.  If you will do an enewsletter – how often will you send it?  If you are going to have a website – when could it be ready?  What information will it provide?  Make a chart with one column for each month.  Note what marketing efforts will be completed each month.

#5  Get started!

You don’t have to do everything at once but pick something and start doing it!  For example, you might start with creating a one page flyer that could be posted at community bulletin boards about your gluten free cooking class.  Maybe it’s roughing out a call script for the restaurants you want to approach.

#6  Reflect & analyze.

Were you able to execute your promotional plans?  Did a weekly e-newsletter become impossible?  Did you decide to participate in a local food conference you hadn’t planned on?  Did your promotional efforts help you reach your goals?  Make notes.

#7  Adjust as necessary.

Maybe you stop what you are doing to do something completely different.  For example, maybe you stop advertising in the local newspaper and establish a Facebook page instead.

Maybe you change how you do something.  For example, you continue to do an e-newsletter, but aim for every 2 weeks instead of every week, or you shorten it to make it easier to prepare.

Maybe you add something completely new – such as attending a local networking group for mompreneurs.

The most important thing to do is to take action.
From these actions you will experience things and be able to learn and grow.
Wayne took the shots and became a hockey legend.  Now it’s your turn to take some shots!

Should you continue to do activities that lose money or break even at best?

Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometimes it is not.

Potential Situations…

It might be participating in a community event – you’ve done a raw food demonstration there for several years but it never results in any sales.  You hate to say no, and don’t mind helping out but…

Or it may be a couple of stores that carry your hand made jewellery.  You signed them up in the early days of your business and were so grateful for their support, but even though they don’t sell much they require you to drop by and re-stock every 2 weeks.

Perhaps you offer free tours of your herb garden.  You expect individuals to make a purchase from your on-site store, but last week you had a large group that bought very little… this after a 1 hour tour turned into a 2 hour visit and you fed them homemade cookies.

Asking Questions & Making a Decision…

Making a decision on whether to continue these activities or not can be difficult.  Here are some questions to consider.

Is the main goal of your business to generate revenue?  Would you like to rely solely on income from your business some day?  If revenue is a key goal, you need to use your time wisely to make sure the income you need is created.  (If you aren’t focused on income, know what you are trying to achieve and make sure your efforts help you reach those goals!)

Could you adapt how you handle this activity to generate more revenue or attract more customers?  For example, are you promoting your participation in the community event to generate publicity and credibility for your raw food coaching business?  Could you post pictures from the community event on your Facebook profile?

Are you reaching your target audience with the activities?  Are you meeting potential customers who are really interested in what you do and would be great customers?  Is there a way to collect information about the people you meet – either through an email sign up list (preferred) or a ballot draw?

What is the opportunity cost of these activities?  (This is a big one!)  For example, if it takes 4 hours to prepare and offer a group tour – what other activities could you achieve within those 4 hours?  If it takes 3 hours to visit the 2 stores that don’t sell very much of your jewellery, could that time be spent finding new distributors, or producing more product?

Is there a middle ground?  Instead of saying no to an activity entirely – can you find a way to make it fit better with your goals?  For example, could you charge a small fee for your garden tour and in exchange attendees get a coupon of equal value for products in your store?  Could you have a conversation with the stores carrying your products and agree to re-stock every 2 months instead?  For participating in the community event could they recognize you as a sponsor in their marketing materials?

Moving forward…

Overall, be brave!  You are making a BUSINESS decision, not a personal one.  If you have asked the above questions and considered various options you have thought through the decision carefully.  Try not to feel bad.  Think about the potential positive outcomes of your decision.

Last but not least, be sure to use this experience, this decision, as a learning experience.  If you applied this decision process to other activities could you improve them?  How will you evaluate future opportunities?

Good luck!

#1 Benefit of Events & 7 Tips

I’ve organized and executed lots of events for different reasons over the years.  Events are both exciting and exhausting.  But why do them?

The #1 benefit of events is they bring FOCUS.

Everybody gets wrapped up in events – those leading the charge, fellow staff or volunteers helping out, customers, and the media.  (Who knows maybe your animals on the farm get excited when they know they are going to be greeted by hordes of children.)

An event can be a gardening workshop you are holding for 10 people, participation in a large yoga conference with a booth, or a themed festival day at your farm.

Events deserve focus.  They shine a spotlight on your company, its products and services – so you want to make sure that whatever type of event you are doing it’s done well.

 

7 Tips…
Know why you are doing the event. 

Be sure to have a clear purpose and goals for your event.  Are you trying to reach new customers?  Is it purely for additional sales?  Are you trying to get media coverage?  Be sure you plan your event to achieve those goals.

Start planning a minimum of 6 months in advance, ideally 1 year. 

3 months is possible but it’s tight.  Why so much time?  See the next point.

Promote it properly

Lead times are important so that you can cement all the necessary details – date/time/location/activities/speakers/sponsors etc.  This is especially important when printing materials such as a flyer.

For a simple event, promotion may mean 1 page flyers from your home printer, a listing on your website, and a series of emails to your newsletter subscribers.  For larger events, you may want to develop a specific graphic look for the event, print a professionally looking postcard or brochure, give it a page on your website, as well as promote it to your email list.

The more time you have the more people you can tell about the event, and the more successful it will be.

Be aware events are resource intensive.

To me this is the number one negative about events.  They can be incredibly resource intensive – requiring time and money.  For example, you may need to boost production to have more product ready and/or find additional people to staff your booth at the conference that weekend.

Map out a timeline

When you starting planning an event sit down and make a list of all the required steps.  Estimate how much time each step will take, and who will be responsible for it.  Keep the list updated as much as possible, although this always goes a bit off the track near the actual event.

I start an Excel spreadsheet and record every possible step I can think of on a separate line.  Then I go back and sort them by when they need to be completed.  I jot notes down on a printed copy and update the Excel file ongoing and after the event so that all of the information is there for next time.

Have a supplies list

Similar to the timeline I prefer to keep a list on Excel of everything needed for the event.  Use sub-categories as necessary – for example, before the event, at the event, follow up.  No item is too small.

Start with estimating everything you need and then note the actuals used.  For the next event it will all be in one place.  For example – 1,000 postcards printed / 700 distributed, 40 lbs of summer sausage used for samples/ 2 lbs leftover, next time bring 2 garbage pails for sample waste, etc.

Avoid one off events

Because events are resource intensive, avoid events that you will only hold one time.  Look for events that can be done on a regular basis.  Maybe every August you offer canning workshops.  Maybe your focus is attending 3 conferences each year.  Maybe it’s an annual Spring Open House.  The benefit is that your event will continually improve as you learn what works and you won’t be recreating the wheel each time when it comes to processes and promotional efforts.

Planning

Why is it so important?

To me, it comes down to… “If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there?”

Yes it takes time, but if you can keep yourself focused, you will save yourself time and money while being more successful at reaching your goal.

Let’s say your local paper approaches you with a great deal.  Normally, it would cost $2,000 to buy 4 ads, but purchase them now and get 25% off!  Wow they will only cost $1,500 and you will save $500.  You buy the ads without thinking about your marketing budget for the year or whether you will have distributors set up in your area where people can buy your products.

Planning ahead reduces reactive, knee jerk decisions.

You’re thinking… But heh – it’s never going to be perfect – it’s so hard to tell if marketing works!

Yes, it can be difficult, but making the best possible decisions in the first place means each year you learn what works and what doesn’t and improve at a much faster rate.

Getting started…

(a simplified version)

To me, planning always begins with an end result in mind.  Being specific is important.  For example, this goal is a bit vague – “I want to make some money this year.”   Make it better such as “By November 15th I want to make $5,000 in net revenue from sales of my organic shea butter.”

Now think backwards – what steps need to happen to make that end result a reality?  For simplicity sake, let’s say your shea butter sells for $25.  Your costs are $10, so you make $15 per sale.  Doing the math, you need to sell 334 containers of your shea butter.  How will you do this?

Grab a calendar and start plotting your efforts.  If you have 6 months to sell those 334 containers – will you sell an equal amount each month, or do you need a couple of months to import and package, find distribution outlets and do some promotion?

Who will be your customer?  Do you expect shea butter to appeal to a younger or older audience?  Male or female?  Where are they located?  What other interests do they have?  How educated are they?

What specific efforts will you take to promote your product to your potential customers?  Will you have a booth at your local Farmers Market?  Will you advertise in your local paper?  Will you sell them online?  How many containers do you think you will sell as a result of each effort?

Are there additional costs you need to consider?   Signage for your booth?  Brochures?  Travel costs to attend events?

Will it work?  Double check your thinking and adjust as necessary.  For example, maybe you need to sell 500 containers to cover the additional costs you have thought of.

What is your break even point?  Yes, you definitely want to do more than break even – but you should know when you will have covered your costs.  Your breakeven point equals your fixed costs / (price per item – cost per item).  In this example, let’s say you have fixed costs of $500 for promotional efforts.  Your break even point would be $500/($25-$10) = 34 containers.

Track and record your efforts, revenue and costs – make adjustments as necessary.  The better your records, the easier it will be to do the next step.

At the end be sure to analyze.  Did you reach your initial goal of $5,000 in net revenue?  What worked?  What didn’t work?  Now plan for the next year with these learnings in mind!