One of my favourite, work-related, Christmas traditions is to make the time to visit clients in person. I spent this morning doing the rounds, dropping in with a small gift to show my appreciation for their continued business and support.
All too often during the year conversations focus on the task at hand. Christmas visits offer the chance to reflect on the year gone and what the coming year might hold. It is an opportunity to discuss how our respective businesses are going, what opportunities and issues we have encountered and hear each other's perspective on how these have been handled.
I had a particularly rewarding chat with a long-term client today. We talked about the value of catching up without a specific project focus and concluded that we should do it more often – perhaps inviting other business owners – in an informal setting. Something to start in 2016.
All too often – especially as a sole trader – I find myself having to 'wing it' when dealing with some business issues. Being able to share these is invaluable. I find this particularly enjoyable when it is with people from different industries.
Another worthwhile aspect to catching up is learning what your clients have valued in the work you have done together. What has worked well and what not so well. We often have a perception of what our clients are looking for and need when working with a designer so it is good to understand this from their point of view. The longer I am in the profession the more I realise how important client relationships and understanding are to producing successful and rewarding work.
So as we reach the end of a busy year it is time to reflect. Time to consider what I would like to achieve next year and how my business might develop...but that's for another post.
Have a fantastic Christmas – Matt