I hate surprises in my liquor store business.
- “Oh, no! We’re almost out of sacks!”
- “We need to come up with money to cover the insurance payment!”
- “Why didn’t you remember to order the Oktoberfest last month?!”
No one likes surprises like that, so I started using a perpetual calendar.
Hanging above the current calendar on the wall is a bundled sheaf of 12 sheets of plain copy paper. Each sheet has a month written on it. And on each month, we write things that will recur from year to year. We’ve been using it for a couple of years now, and it’s gotten pretty detailed.
Here’s what we have on our perpetual calendar:
- holidays to decorate for
- community events we need to prepare or stock up for (festivals, events, banquets, dinners and others we need to be ready for)
- key supplies to check on certain dates (like, check the gift wrapping supplies well before the holidays)
- special items to order that we only need seasonally
- occasional or yearly expenses like licenses and insurance
- anything we need to remember for next year
Even in a small town, we can’t remember every community event, banquet and festival that we need to, so now we let the calendar remind us.
This doesn’t just apply to business. Back when I worked for the regional Girl Scout council, I got tired of surprise events and deadlines coming up. So I hung 12 sheets of paper on the wall and had all of the staff start adding events, notices and reminders. Even long-time staff appreciated not having to keep it all in their heads.
I’m starting to think every organization, even if it’s just one person, needs a perpetual calendar.
Your homework assignment is to answer these questions:
- What items would go on your perpetual calendar?
- What form makes the most sense for you: paper, an online calendar like Google calendar, or maybe a cloud note like Evernote?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.