Things I'll be doing next week now that takedowns are done to help 2009. I'll be continuing visiting with each customer asking how we did this year and ways to improve for next year. I find this is also the time that customers will mention they'd like a wreath, garland, etc. many are also willing to prepay for new product next year, and I count it as a sale when I have the money in hand. Waiting til March or April cools off customers too much. Also, many of my Christmas bids and Christmas customers expressed interest in Landscape lighting, so I'll call those too. I missed a few Landscape light sales last year becasue of lazyness- they told me they were interested but I waited til April to call, and by then they had already dropped 5, 10k on lighting with someone else. Collections. I hate it, you hate it, the customers hate it. but I gotta get this money in now before folks forget the lights being on thier home. My buddy Jamey talks it up this way-In December the lights are beautiful and worth every penny, In January they only use the phone to ask when the lights are coming down, not when you call to collect, and by February they had problems with thier lights back in December( although they never called in December) and it was not worth what you charged them. marketing costs- what did I spend and what did it bring me? I realized this week that my yellow page advertising is getting close to 10k per year for 3 books. although I get some pretty good Landscape lighting jobs and Christmas light jobs from yellow pages ( probably 75-90k in sales), at 10k That is getting pretty expensive. To put in perspective, You could easily print ( got print.com ), address ( your laser printer) and mail ( if you get a permit and do carrier route saturation mailing) 3000 6x11 super jumbo color postcards front and back every month for 12 months, and have enough left over to buy 6, 4 foot x 12 foot full color coated adhesive vinyl graphics for enclosed trailers or boxvans( you'd have to put them on yourself) for the same money and just do simple listings in the yellow pages . which would build brand value/recognition and get you more sales? Although the postcards and graphics on trucks require way more work on my end, and the yellow pages are easy, just write a check, I think I may go more the postcard direction this year and much less yellow pages. Probably just 1/2" listings for me. get my building up and get it spray foam insulated. I've detailed this in another thread, but will probably start a new one when construction begins. I am really excited about this for my business. My goal for this building has been refined. By the time this new building is properly full, I better have enough sales to afford the property I really want and need- a place on the interstate with a Christmas light showroom. Once this building is built I won't have space on the property to build another, so I have to get this current one big enough to get me to the dream. That may mean finding another 3-4 grand to get this one right. we'll see.