We all know those daily, weekly, monthly tips to keeping ourselves healthy. Drink eight glasses of water each day, exercise at least 30 minutes three times a week, have your teeth cleaned every six months, but what should you be doing on a regular basis to keep your business healthy?
I know I get caught up in all the blog post writing, social media sharing, product building and launch planning that it’s easy to forget those simple, but important things that help keep business running smoothly.
So here are 12 things I do each month to keep my small business running strong. Grab the printable checklist at the end of this post & share your most important monthly tasks in the comments!
Clean out your email list
The email open rate for a healthy mailing list is about 20%. (Check out a breakdown by niche here >>>) This means a chunk of your audience isn’t opening every email. Last month I went through and unsubscribed anyone who hadn’t opened my last 20 emails – it was about 300 people and it dropped my bill this month by $10. While it’s exciting to watch your numbers increase, you’re paying for every one of those email addresses, so we want to make sure it’s money well-spent!
In MailChimp you can do this by going into your list > Manage Subscribers > Segment. Then create a segment for only those subscribers that haven’t opened a certain number of campaigns.
Click “Preview Segment” and then hit the down arrow next to Email Address. Select visible and under actions choose Unsubscribe. Cha-ching!
Check in with past clients & customers
Every six months/year I recommend sending an email (or snail mail—they love that!) to clients you haven’t worked with recently. Share your new products or services and ask how you can help them out this year. I can’t tell you how many times a quiet client has responded with, “Oh actually, I could really use your help with ______!”
If you sell products, send quick note to past buyers letting them know what’s new and offer a discount on their next purchase.
Update product pages
Creating a product page and letting it sit untouched is a bad plan! I’m always receiving feedback, images, and reviews from readers that I can use to update my copy and boost sales. Scan through your product pages every single month to make sure your sales team is doing its job! (When you work alone your website is your sale team, right??)
Create marketing materials in bulk
You know those quotes I post on Instagram? I generally don’t create them the day of. Instead, I sit down once a month or every other month and design a handful at once. Then I upload them all to Dropbox, so they’re ready to go on days I don’t take photos or am feeling especially inspirational.
Review your website
Use Google Analytic’s In-Page stats (under Behavior) to make sure everything in your navigation, sidebar, post footer, and blog footer is providing value to your audience and they’re actually clicking it! If not—move it, change it, delete it.
This is an important one if you’re on WordPress. Every couple of months you should make sure all your plugins are up-to-date and delete any you’re not using anymore because they can slow down your site.
Evaluate monthly expenses
Each month I send money to MailChimp, Buffer, and DPD and each month I double check that all of these expenses are necessary and I’m getting the most out of each service. When you’re a one-woman show you can’t be sending $10 here and $30 there without making sure it’s helping your business succeed. It may be $40/month, but that’s $480/year—I’d much rather spend that on a plane ticket home, some sexy new headshots, or a weekly cheeseburger than throw it away on services I’m not utilizing.
Improve / Automate processes
In the almost three years of being self-employed I’ve automated . . .
- promoting archived blog posts
- promoting products
- paying my Etsy, MailChimp, Buffer, and ecommerce bills
- billing Babes students
- sending Babes e-course content
- my first communication with potential design clients
- fulfilling ebook and blog theme purchases
- and other things I haven’t had to think about in a very long time!
Now most of my time is focused on producing content, interacting with people on social media, working with clients, and creating products. If I had to manually do everything on that list almost every single day, think of how many hours that would add to my work week! YIKES! What parts of your workday can you automate or speed up in order to spend your time on more valuable tasks? (I’m gonna share everything I use for automation later this week—it’s so good it deserves its own post)
Update your spreadsheets
The last thing you want to do is wake up in March and realize you never spent any time bookkeeping. It’s easy enough to neglect since sites like PayPal and Etsy keep records of profits and expenses for you, but having a spreadsheet that shows my totals for each income stream is not only helpful when tax season shows up, but allows me to see if I’m on track for my sales goals. I also use this time to add in fees and expenses AND file my receipts so I can find them in the future if need be. I highly recommend making this a permanent task in your calendar on the last day of each month.
Consult with your audience
I don’t know any businesses that could survive without listening to what their clients and customers want. Whether you’re sending out a survey once a year, saving tweets, or just asking for opinions via blog post or email once a month, gathering this information should be a big part of what you create and sell.
Review your yearly plan & goals
This leads me to my next point – take that bookkeeping information and note whether you’re on track, falling behind what you hoped to make, or knocking it out of the park. (Hopefully it’s the latter!) Taking stock of how your business is fairing each month will help you adjust your content, marketing, and social media plans accordingly. I also take time to create a plan for the coming month, so I know how and when I’ll promote. Whether it’s a Twitter chat or a series of emails, scheduling this stuff in advance will have a better outcome than the day before “Oh shit!” strategy.
Learn one new skill
What’s one thing you could add to your bag of tricks that would help improve you, your business, your blog, or the way you promote. It can be a skill that helps the way you run your business or a skill that adds value for your clients. And it doesn’t have to be crazy—no one is expecting you to become a Photoshop ninja or learn to code an entire site, but pick one thing that would make a difference.
P.S. I just unlocked my Resources page – links to every single thing I use to run my blog and my business.