It’s 2018 — already! Start the year strong with these tips from Thumbtack Top Pros on everything from organizing your calendar and perfecting your profile to getting your business paperwork in order before tax season arrives.
1. Send customers a New Year’s reminder.
It’s January — the season of New Year’s resolutions. Your customers are doubling down on their 2018 goals and to-do lists, and they’ll be hiring professionals to help them out. Make sure you’re top of mind for them with a New Year’s note reminding them about your business.
As home inspector David Clayton explains, “No matter how busy I am, I always send follow-up messages early in the year. You have to ask for people’s business. It’s the only way.”
If your business doesn’t tend to pick up until Spring, you might try a New Year’s marketing campaign. Specials and sales will help you win over new clients early, while keeping continuing customers engaged.
2. Catch up on the most recent trends.
“New year, new you.” We’ve all heard it — and depending on your industry, trends can change fast. Whether it’s how pros want to remodel their bathrooms, their workout of choice, or how they want their hair cut, staying up on the most current trends is crucial to winning new business.
January is the perfect time to catch up on the latest trends and techniques in your industry. And as makeup artist Cynthia Mitchell explains, keeping up with what’s seasonal and in-style will put you ahead in the new year.
Just make sure your Thumbtack profile reflects what you’ve learned. “It doesn’t hurt to update your kit to ensure you’re prepared,” Cynthia says.
3. Perfect your profile.
Your profile is your customer’s window into your business. This year, make sure that window is spotless and dressed to perfection. According to Top Pro photographer Tri Nguyen, a professional-looking profile comes down to four things:
- A bright and friendly headshot. (Here’s how to take one.)
- A warm but concise business bio. (Here’s how to write one.)
- 10+ happy reviews from verified Thumbtack customers. (Here’s hot to get them.)
- A media section that highlights your very best work. (Here’s how to pick them.)
4. Pace yourself.
The new year is a busy time for many small business owners. But remember, the work you do in January sets the tone for everything else in 2018 — make sure you’re not rushing it (or cutting any corners).
Top Pro house cleaner Serene Aandahl takes special precautions ahead of the new year to make sure her staff can handle their workload. “No matter how busy we get, I’m really careful not to overbook my team.”
Dog trainer Eric Pliner, who works alone, is also careful about his schedule. “It’s easy to overwork yourself in the middle of a surge. I’m very specific about providing time slots on my website and I stick to them so that I can maintain time off to rest and recover,” he says.
One other way to stay on top of your workload — use your Thumbtack calendar. The hours that you block off on your calendar are accounted for when Instant Match is sending quotes for you. That means that you can stay focused on the jobs ahead of you, without double-booking or receiving new customer matches during times you’re already working.
5. Get your paperwork in order.
January is the perfect time to get your business (and your business’s!) paperwork in order. Because when February rolls around you’ll be smack in the middle of tax season — and you don’t want to fall behind.
Thumbtack tax expert Sandra Chessmore suggests you start with your employees and contractors. “Small business owners should be getting their own year-end stuff completed, so they can get W2 and 1099 forms to their employees and independent contractors before tax season comes to a close,” says Sandra.
Taxes can be confusing — especially this year, with the new tax policy taking effect. Visit the IRS’s small business and self-employment center for information on the policies that matter most to your business.
Check out Business Tax Tips to Start 2018 Right for everything you need to know about tax filing, deadlines and how to find an expert who’s right for your business.