Another year is about to arrive, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is almost behind us. However, it’s important not to lose momentum in the coming year. The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates in an attempt to curb inflation, and this has affected many small businesses, including self-employed notaries. As it becomes more costly to borrow money, the demand for notary signing agents and other notarial services may lessen. However, notaries should not grow discouraged. Instead, work on your business plan for the coming year and continue to strive to grow your client base.
Having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it will propel you to success in the future. While your plan should be tailored to your individual business, there are a few universal strategies that can benefit any businesses in the coming year. Here are a few ways to start off on the right foot in 2024:
Thank Your Customers
Thanksgiving may be behind us, but the time for gratitude is not. Your customers are the reason you are successful. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business. Clients appreciate being valued, and they will remember that you took the time to show your appreciation. So, consider sending your customers a personalized “thank you” card or making a quick phone call to let them know how grateful you are for their business. Be sure to let them know you look forward to continuing to work with them in 2024.
Expand Your Notary Education
Notary law is constantly changing, and technology is forever evolving. As a notary, you need to keep up with ongoing changes in notary law and the mortgage and loan industries. In 2024, set aside some time in your schedule to further your notary education. Take a class, read up on industry changes, learn a new skill, or join an association relevant to your business. The American Association of Notaries, for instance, provides a quarterly digest that keeps members apprised of changes in notary law and the notary industry. Knowledge is power, and it is the key to running a sustainable business.
Review Your Finances and Stock Up on Notary Supplies
Break down your business by the numbers and set realistic expectations as to how you will perform financially in the new year. Start by reviewing your budget for 2023 and deciding how you can reduce your expenses in 2024. Ask yourself:
- Which services did you provide that were most profitable?
- Which services were least profitable?
- What supplies were most essential to your business this year?
- What supplies could you probably do without in 2024?
- Do you need to set aside funds to renew your notary commission soon or to continue your notary education?
One way to cut expenses is to buy supplies on sale. Stock up now to save on shipping and to avoid future inflation. Take advantage of post-holiday savings on standard office supplies you use every day, such as paper, pens, staples, and ink for your notary stamp. This is also a great time of year to reorder business cards. Don’t forget to buy a new notary record book if your current one is almost full.
Market Your Notary Business
Decide how you want your business to grow in 2024 and what marketing endeavors will help you achieve those goals. Create a plan that answers the following questions:
- How will you market your services?
- When is the most efficient time to market your services?
- To whom will you market your services? Will you target neighbors, organizations in your community, new clients, or old clients?
Set some time aside every week just to work on your marketing plan.
A 2024 Checklist
As 2024 unfolds, be sure to:
- Check if your notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance provides adequate coverage. If your E&O insurance policy terms are not concurrent with your term of office as a notary, this is an ideal time to ensure that your policy is still active, to renew it, or to purchase a new one if necessary.
- Update your background check. If you are required to have a background check, make sure it is from a preferred vendor.
- Review how you are protecting your client’s personal information and find ways to make your technology and processes more secure. Your clients will thank you for it.
Perform a Self-Analysis
Assess all aspects of your notary business from 2023. Ask yourself what went well and what requires improvement in 2024. Continue the good, but when it comes to things that didn’t work, follow the three R’s:
Follow these tips to kick off a successful 2024. The American Association of Notaries wishes you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness, and prosperity for the upcoming New Year.