2023 marked the biggest year ever for my business across the board. With the calendar officially turned over to 2024, I want to share our week 1 rituals that allowed us to start last year in a position to grow. Please keep in mind that what works well for us may not be a one-size-fits-all approach for all businesses. My hope is that it inspires you to adopt rituals unique to your business, allowing you to turn the page year over year and position yourself for success.
Here is what we do:
I’ve experimented with more productivity strategies and hacks than I can probably recall, but one of the few that has really stuck with me is the zero inbox strategy. The zero inbox strategy is a productivity approach that aims to declutter your mind by organizing your inbox—methodically deleting, sorting, or clearing incoming emails. In simple terms, the idea is that every email you receive either warrants a reply and/or a corresponding task, with the goal being to have zero messages in your inbox.
To kick off the year, I go through my inbox. If a message doesn’t have an associated task or requires a reply today, it gets archived. This allows me to start the year with clarity about what needs to get done while also providing a fresh inbox to monitor. Implementing this strategy over time has resulted in far fewer emails falling through the cracks and more time spent on client work than on email communication.
Reconnect With Customers
For most businesses, it’s been two solid weeks of scattered availability and time off celebrating the end-of-year holidays. I spend some time in week 1 checking in with clients we love working with. As people settle back into work life after the holidays, projects that started to fall off the horizon last November can begin to gain new momentum as the calendar turns over.
In no particular order, here is who I check in with at the beginning of the year:
Week 1 is always spent checking in with agency clients to get a feel for what is on their first-quarter horizon. This segment consistently contributes significantly to my business’s revenue, and I want to make sure that I have room for their web development projects. Agencies generally have longer sales cycles, so it’s important to initiate these conversations early to ensure availability in the first quarter of the year.
Site Launches from Q3 & Q4 of the Previous Year
My business is busiest in Q3 & Q4 of the year, meaning a large number of websites get launched in the third and fourth quarters. Checking in on those customers to ensure everything is working as intended can open the door to new features that may have been excluded from the original scope. No matter the service offering that you provide, I would encourage you to do this in the first month of the year.
The other positive byproduct of checking with these clients is referrals. I’ve been able to generate new business simply by checking in with clients who have recently launched sites.
Inbound Leads from Q3 & Q4 of the Previous Year
One simple thing I love to do is check in with all the inbound leads, if you have them, from Q3 & Q4 of the previous year. If these web development projects got pushed until after the holiday, you set yourself up to strike while the iron is hot. If they’ve gone a different direction, it creates an opportunity to maintain good relationships with clients who have asked to work with you. You never know what leaving that door open can lead to in the future.
Creating new business is equally important as nurturing past and existing customers. We like to start the year by aiming to close at least three clients in the first quarter. It sets the tone for the year and instills a good cadence for bringing in new business. One thing here is keeping this simple. We do a good job of knowing what types of businesses we’re a good fit to work with and have strong referral partners set up to pass off quality leads.
If you’re interested in talking about how we can help with your web development project, you can get on my calendar here.