With the end of the year rapidly approaching it is natural to start thinking about the next year of business. You want to start setting goals and channel your ideas and energy into the fresh new start that comes in January.
No matter where your financial year end falls, the end of the calendar year provides a natural pause for thought.
Your plans must be built on a solid foundation that comes from a full review of the year that is closing, and an assessment of how well your business is performing.
Only when you know where you are now can you properly consider how to fill the gap to where you want to be.
What worked well during this year? What was a drain on your resources? Consider both financial resources and your own time. What did you do that got you noticed? Was that for the right reasons?
There are so many questions to be answered that it is worth scheduling some time to review how your business has performed as this will underpin your plans for the forthcoming year.
There should be no big surprises at the year end if you have kept a grip on your weekly, monthly and quarterly figures. But now is a good time to look at the year as a whole.
How much was your turnover? How much was your profit? Are you happy with these results? Can you cut back on your expenses? Do your prices reflect costs accurately and allow for profit? Can you ditch less profitable lines to concentrate on delivering the ones that really make a difference to your business growth?
Return on investment
Did you spend your hard-earned cash, and your limited time as wisely as you could? What did you invest in, and what was the return? Think about this in categories such as marketing, networking, your IT and equipment spend, training and personal development etc.
It is easy to see how much cash you spent, but you should also think about how much your time is worth. Consider whether you have been spending that valuable time profitably through your marketing and networking activities online and offline.
How many customers did you acquire through these activities? How much per head did each customer acquisition cost? What is the lifetime value of each customer?
When you are clear on what has been working and what has not, and what has brought the best results, then you can begin to plan your activities for the new year.
Whether you need external financing or not, your business plan is a vital tool for focusing the mind, setting goals and clear steps to achieving those goals.
There is no need to over-complicate this but a simple action plan, based on what you learn through your year-end business review results, will save you time and money, supporting your growth as you move towards where you want to be.
Plan to do a lot more of what brought the best return on your investment, and a lot less of what was a drain on your cash and your time.
Don’t leave it to chance.
Let your new year business resolutions be more masterplan than maybe.