Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

Reflect On Your Business and Plan for the Future

Are you ready to set goals for success in the new year? Before you begin, use this checklist to review your achievements from the past year.

By Kimm Alfonso Jan 3, 2013
Photo by Inspireuart

The beginning of a new year is a great time to take a look at the past year, reflect on your accomplishments and business strategies, and realize what you’ve learned. The process of reflecting on, setting goals for and planning for the future of your business takes time — but it definitely pays off. I recommend carving out a couple of hours in January to review the previous year. Once you’ve reviewed the past year and set exciting and attainable goals, you’ll be able to create a powerful plan for success in the new year.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers and solutions for success right now. Start where you are and realize that you’re exactly where you need to be. You’ll have plenty of time to develop strategies and execute your goals this year.

The following exercise will help you assess your Etsy business by dividing your past year’s work into three general business themes. As part of this process, you’ll review your product listings, promotions, expenses, and workflow and evaluate what worked and didn’t for you in the past year.

Let’s get started!

Take a sheet of paper and organize it into three columns headed with these themes: “My Product,” “Marketing,” and “Operations and Finances.”

Within each column, list the following prompts:

  1. My approach last year
  2. What worked well?
  3. What didn’t work so well?
  4. My goals for the new year

As you’re writing about each of the four prompts, here are some questions to think about:

My Product

  • Are you pleased with your product?
  • How marketable is your product?
  • Did you do research similar products before pricing your work?
  • What's your profit margin on each sale and can you improve it?
  • Are you networking with other sellers to get advice and tips on improving your product?
  • Does my product follow any merchandising themes/yearly trends?

Marketing

  • Did your marketing strategy bring in referral traffic and convert to sales?
  • Where did most of your sales come from?
  • How can you diversify your income with marketing?
  • Are you marketing to individuals or to press?
  • Are you marketing in person or online?
  • What are some new marketing avenues you can take to increase your shop’s reach?
  • Are your graphics up to snuff to communicate your shop’s brand?
  • What tools are you using to market your shop?

Operations and Finances

  • What tasks and processes take the most time and how can you do them more efficiently?
  • Do you have a streamlined shipping process?
  • How are you managing your expenses and financial planning?
  • Are you keeping organized records so that you understand your profits and losses?
  • Are you collecting sales tax when and where you need to — so the end of the year isn’t a headache?
  • Are you a registered business and, if not, do you know when you should register?

Every business is as different as the person who runs it, so every Etsy seller will have a very different list of what worked and what didn’t work — even if the strategy was similar. If your shop is brand spanking new and you don’t have a previous year to compare to, firstly, congratulations on taking the leap! Secondly, don’t worry — we’re here to help you create a strong foundation. Start by reading this Quick-Start Guide to Selling on Etsy.

Once you're ready to move forward with setting goals for the year ahead, read this post for tips staying on track: Ready for Etsy Success? Start With an Etsy Goal.

Share your goal for the new year in the comments below!

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