Episode 376: Preparing for the Holidays and 2024 with Ryan Waterbury

Show Summary

Rob Cairns talks to Ryan Waterbury about preparing for the holidays and beyond.

Show Highlights:

1. How to prepare for the holidays.

2. Setting short-term goals.

3. Setting long-term goals.

Show Notes

 Hey everybody. Rob, Cairns here. And today I’m here with my monthly co-host, Mr. Ryan Waterbury. How are you, Ryan? 


Uh, pretty good. Today it’s it’s a little bit warmer. We’re getting rid of that cold Canadian air. So things are on the upswing. 

I I would argue if you listen to the meteorologist said there came from Colorado, so I can’t even buy in Minnesota anymore. So it was freezing the last two days at the time of this record and today’s much nicer like spring Fall Day. So you know, like what can you say? Right. You know, anyway, today I felt would. Dive into business preparation for the New Year. We’re into 2024. We’re talking about business. There’s other things business owners should do to get ready for next year. What? Do you think? 


Absolutely. And I had my entire December laid out scheduled with implementing. 


I I won’t. 

Say new processes, but improvements on processes and. Looking at at planning for projects throughout the year, and lo and behold, I filled up with client work. 

Yeah, it’s it’s always the way, isn’t it? I mean, I had mine trying to play catch up for the New year and guess what, there’s client work in the middle and and gotta pay the bills so we don’t have much of it. I think one of the biggest things business owners don’t do going into 2024 is they need to set some short term and some long term goals. And these goals have to be obtainable and measurable. What do you think about goals? 

I I love and hate goals simply for the fact that things things can shift so dramatically in a hurry, and we saw the past few years how? Things were very stable. I nearly lost my business in 2020 and had to make some quick shifts. So I I have a very different feeling on goal setting and I’m glad you brought up the short versus long term goals for the fact that. I’m planning instead of 12 months out in quarter chunks, so I’m looking at the next three months and sure my long term goals I have have some things that I want to achieve for the year as as kind of a benchmark. But I haven’t put any firm plans on how to reach that. I’m looking at one corner at a time and. Keeping myself and my clients happy while doing it. 


Yeah, I I kind of go a little bit different. What I do is I assign a pile of short term goals which lead to a long term goal. And the reason I do it that way is then the short term goals become a little more measurable and it’s easier to see the end of the tunnel than if you have like a one year goal. I’m almost better off even a monthly goal. Short term goals and I I kind of work that way and say this is where I want to go. These will achieve to the bigger goal and then you can see the road at the end of the tunnel just a little better for me that works, but it doesn’t work for everybody. So. 

No, I I’m definitely yeah, go ahead. 

Yeah, I was. I was going to move on from that and actually, so both of us are working on implementing new ticketing systems for clients going into 2024. My whole philosophy is it’s got to be done and it’s going to happen and that’s the end of it. 


You know. 

I, you know, read something a while ago, a number of years ago. What you allow to happen will continue. To happen and, you know, look, let’s apply. That to support request. I have over the past few years gotten request via Facebook Messenger text calls, emails from my personal e-mail all over the place and I slow and it takes time and training for a lot of people. What what I’ve really. Prided myself on and branded, my agency is that one to one connection and you know a. Lot of I’ve closed. A lot of business over the last year because I’m a smaller agency in comparison to larger agencies and that the clients actually appreciated that personal touch and attention. But when we come to support, I have about 300 people that can report possibly report tickets throughout the month. And if you don’t have a system to manage that and they it rarely happens and I don’t think I’ve ever had all several 100 report tickets at the same time. But when you get. A couple dozen. And they report from all different. You need a system to track that and the the more training that you can do to. Follow or corral your clients into you using the system easier it is to. Take care of their needs. And a lot of times they don’t realize that you’re managing not only their tickets, but other support tickets. And if they don’t use the system, sometimes things get lost and then nothing gets taken care of. So that’s one of my short term goals. Is to improve the support system that I’m on. I was using a another system that took care of common Inbox markup directly on the site, but unfortunately it was not a platform that was stable enough for me. So I’ve looked at some options. You know, that was kind of my month goal was to implement that and also change my booking so that I can train clients that.


Hey if you. Really want to sit down and talk about something you need to book some time. You can’t call me in the middle. Afternoon when I blocked out. To work on other client work. Granted, if your site’s down on fire, I will take that call 24/7 365 most of the time, though, that’s not the case with these. With these support requests. 

Yeah, it’s true. Training your clients and kind of sticking to them and retraining is part of the problem. I think we’re all guilty of it of staying in our agencies. We’ll just do it for you this one time and then one time becomes two times and two times becomes four and four becomes 8. And before you know, we’re doing it all the time. And I think that’s part of the issue. Yeah. The other thing, it’s interesting even business wise, I’ve looked at one of the things I’ve done is I’m in the process of installing a voice line. So I’m taking all my business traffic off my cell phone gate. I’m actually going to take my voicemail and say. If this is a business call, please call this number and I’m about to make that change very soon. The only thing I’m waiting on is interesting enough. The carrier accidentally handed me a number that’s marked as spam, so every time I dial from my new business number, which I’m not going to share yet, it’s it gets marked marked as spaces. Likely spam color, so they’re working with their. Telephone number keeper. To resolve that issue right now and then that should be done the next day, that’s just logic. Fix that and I’m also in the process of revamping both my newsletter and my podcast stings a little bit. So you say, why are you doing that going in the new year? I want a more stringent my newsletters kind of been all over the place the last month just because of work constraints and client constraints. And you know all of that stuff and we all have that. Problem so I need I need to rework the dates that I spend with that, so I’m in the process of doing that and then I’m gonna also in the process of building some notion templates right now to make things easier. So when I get this type of a task, I can just drop it in. And be copied the template and be done with it. So I’m doing some of that little hint to podcast show notes and the notes for the shows just moving the notion in the new year. So that’s when the things I’m working on and just trying to streamline. Some processes and look at where the bottlenecks are and and fix it, because now this is as good a time as any. 

Exactly. And you know, the trouble is finding that downtime and I that that’s been a good thing. And surprisingly, you know, I’ve been just outright surprised with some of the consumer confidence coming back and. You know, we talked with our our small mass in my group that not everyone’s doing great out there and you know then I talk with you know, our group and I think we’re all finding success and finding new clients and. And businesses, I won’t say booming, but you know, rebounding back and I and I have to credit that to the, you know, relationships that I’ve built and also. I’m not sweating it when that stuff comes in because, you know, we’re talking about systems. I’ve got fairly good systems in place to to, you know, handle things as they come in. It’s that improvement and finding that time to work on your own business and that’s one of the things that I wanted to step into next is. Scheduling time to work on your own business and I have two blocks on Monday into Friday, both afternoons where. I have that blocked off to work on things like bookkeeping, other admin tasks, and you know when you start a business you do it because you’re passionate about it and then you find out there’s all these other things that you have to do that aren’t really the fun part. They have nothing to do with your business, but you need to. Take care of them. Like billing, invoicing. You know, those little Advent tests, R&D, implementing you know, like a new ticket system that takes time and. And you know, when we talk about goals sometimes. You know we.


Hear I have these financial goals or, you know, marketing goals and what’s not included in that is planning the infrastructure and the system. Time behind it. To be able to handle those things once, once the rubber hits the road. 


Yeah, I agree with that. I mean, one of the big problems I see, the small business owners I work with is they don’t put any time in their budget in their time budget to do things like their own marketing and things like that. And I always say take couple days back a couple hours, put it right in your calendar and and be done with it because you got, you have to spend time. On your own. Business, even if business is thriving, that’s actually the best time to spend time on your business. And people wait and say ohh. I’ll wait till I have nothing to do, but then it’s the old feast or famine cycle. And that’s and that’s what creates that. You haven’t put anything. Out there in the queue, you can’t. You can’t keep running that way. To be successful, it just doesn’t work. 

Yeah, and it’s. Interesting that you you mentioned that. Small businesses need to block time for marketing. I don’t think about it like that because, well, that’s, you know, our business is marketing. And so for you and I, that’s not really, I don’t think about that as work. That’s just you know things that we need to do that we’re comfortable with. But for other small business owners. I am just finishing up an ad campaign. For a contractor that I had that I rebuilt their website, they started getting traffic and now they’re coming into their down season, the winter season and you know where we had a conversation about his goals before we started the web project and I knew this was coming up. But he’s taking he’s been proactive to take the time. That said, I don’t have time to do this. You know, we’ve got work now. I need somebody else to help me with the marketing. And you know, that’s one way to look at it. Either book some time for yourself to do it when you’re starting out and when you grow to a point where you can’t fit it. And that’s when you reach out to, you know, other partners to work with, but.


That first step is the realization that you need to do it. 

And by the way, that includes for small businesses, including a marketing budget and their budget because they don’t look at things like a website as a marketing tool or an e-mail list as a marketing tool. And it really is. And we got to. We gotta get back to that. But we just need to be there so. You know, and the other thing is even looking at things like launch dates for projects like January 1st is a really bad day to launch stuff I would. Be doing it? Like later in the month of February, like just cause in the years there, it doesn’t mean you have to launch on the first of the year. I think that’s actually. Really a bad move? In the in the long run. 

I think this entire and I’ll, I’ll I’ll say it’s more than a month once we I mean you and I both know that if you’re not starting your Black Friday and marketing campaign since September or even Web rebuild. Let’s forget it. It’s not gonna happen by the end of. The year I. Don’t. I don’t care how efficient you are unless it’s a one page brochure so it. There, there are too many things that that go on, holidays, family gatherings, office gatherings, you know, on top of the the regular scheduled dates. Between Thanksgiving that start in in the US all the way through that January 2nd, basically you know the day after New Year’s Day, there’s not a lot of work that gets done efficiently between that that time frame. 


Mm-hmm. That’s true. It’s really. True. And the other thing we gotta look at, too is what most business owners know is. And we know is budgets for a lot of companies flip in the new Year, but they flip January 1 and most companies by now know what their budgets gonna be next year. I would say there’s very few that don’t have a clue. So like, let’s start budgeting for stuff now and not waiting. 

Exactly. You know, I worked in printing for a lot of years, so this was the scramble at the end of the year with with a lot of companies to use up their marketing budget. So it got approved again for next year. This, you know, these last two months. So that’s why I’m harping on a little bit, you know. Of the mad dash to to do things before the end. 

The year. 

And all. 


Sometimes you can be creative with with clients and pre bill and you schedule the work in January. But when you work with clients that you know have a marketing department and budget bill it in this calendar year and so. I I start to I started thinking far outside the box when we get to this time of year on how can we get things done and. How can everyone remain happy? 

But and the other key thing is, you know this time year is busy enough, it’s not to over schedule yourself. Make sure you take some time. I would argue that this is the time of year where you really want to watch what you eat properly. You sleep properly, you get your exercise in. Don’t just stop it. Because you’re swamped. Keep your regular routines and and kind of work things around it, and if it fits, it fits. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t because. Well, most people get into trouble is they get all caught in the hustle and bustle of October and November, December, and then they’re they hit December. And the day after Christmas. And they feel like crap. And I wonder why. Right. You got to look after yourself too. 

Exactly. It’s it’s the the pie cookie and candy candy seed. And you know, but back to goals going in into, you know, the the next year this month is typically where I’d like to not schedule any work, sit down, do my goal planning and you know, look at what I’m going to do for the year and I try and do work. Myself in this, you know, the oddball holiday time frame. Sometimes it happens this year. It’s not. Last year, it didn’t as much, but you know. Building those systems and improving on them, those are my goals for the next. 

Year no, I would agree with you. Really enjoyed the conversation, a bit of a short one today, but I think that’s an important topic we needed to put out there. Somebody wants to chat with you about Web design goals. Business how’s the best way? 

Any major social media out there at one dog solutions? You can visit my website at one dog dot solutions or e-mail me at Ryan dot Waterbury at one dog dot solutions. 

And make sure you say hello. There is 2 office managers. I think one of them just willed their heads in the middle of the. Podcast, OK. Have a great. Day Ryan, thanks for everything. Bye for now. 

Yeah, you too. 

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