The Vistaprint Better Calendar Weeks 1 - 4: Evaluation

We all have an idea of what it means to do “better.” For some business owners, “better” means getting bigger; for others, it’s having customers feel like friends. For many, it’s simply running things so we can spend more time with our families. Whatever “better” means to you and your business, we’re going to come up with a year’s worth of ideas and exercises to help you get there. You can follow the exercises week by week, dip in and out, or do a whole month at once. Whatever works. You can download and print all the exercises here.

We’ve got lots of ideas and advice to share, from defining your brand to building customer relationships online, and we’ll be covering these topics and more over the year. But we also want you to help shape our calendar by sharing what other areas you’d like to do better in – you can tell us here.

For this first instalment though, we invite you to take a step back and reflect on the year that’s just gone, starting with an important feel-good exercise to warm you up.

Week 1 – What are you proud of?

It’s important to recognise our own strengths. But when you’re busy running a business, it’s easy to overlook the small successes and even some of the bigger ones too. So, grab a notebook and carve out some time for yourself – whether that means going for a long walk or nestling into your favourite chair with a cup of tea – and think about all the positive things you’ve achieved and how you can take them even further this year.

Week 2 – Who are your heroes?

What other small businesses are doing a good job, whether in your local area or online? What are they doing that you could do too? If no one springs to mind that you know personally, try searching online and see how other companies present themselves, what sort of image they project and the types of messages they convey.

Week 3 – How could you do better with customers?

Having great customer relationships is important to every business and many factors influence how customers perceive you. Think about how well you’re doing or which of the following areas you could improve on – and add your own – and rank them in order of importance:

  • Brand identity – Do customers know what your business stands for and do you have a consistent look and feel they recognise?

  • Marketing materials – Do your business cards, leaflets and other materials represent you in the best possible way? Do you feel proud handing them out or leaving them on display?

  • Getting new or repeat customers – Could you do better at getting new customers through your door and do they come back as often as you’d like?

  • Getting customers to recommend you – How could you generate more word of mouth by motivating your existing customers to recommend you?

Week 4 – What could you do better for you?

Running a business is personal and it’s important to be clear on what matters to you, so you can work to do better in those areas. Here’s a list of ideas, but you may have many more of your own. Think about which ones could bring the most value to you:

  • Work/life balance – Does it feel like you’re always working? Making sure you have time to switch off will help you put your energy into the right things at the right time.

  • Networking – Partnering with other businesses is a great way to build business, as well as making new relationships in your community.

  • Budgeting – Are there ways you could be smarter with your budget, without making unwanted compromises?

  • Employee morale – If you have a team, are they motivated or is there more you’d like to do for them?

Coming up next, it’s time to turn all these thoughts and reflections into goals.

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