We all know there are things we should do, but what MUST WE DO as business owners to prepare for the next year? I mean real, measurable things, not just “resolutions.” The end of the year is a time to reflect on what happened in the past year. It is a time to use that information to build on your accomplishments, avoid past issues and uplevel your business next year. If you do that, your life will uplevel right along with your company!
So, what could you do that is quick and gets a high return for you going into the new year? Here are a few to keep you focused:
1. Put your business plan on steroids. It’s a new year and a great time to adjust your plan of record.
2. Map out the big-ticket items – your anchors – for that plan as the year unfolds.
3. Cash management – Figure out the last of this year’s spending, plan for taxes (you’d be amazed at what you might be able to save given some forethought) and don’t forget to take your profit!
4. Start planning to execute your plan for business growth in the coming year. What people will you need, who do you need to talk to?
5. Have clear marketing programs to catapult your new year.
If you break it down and spend just a few hours, these tasks can yield the highest return on investment on your time. Let’s look at some specific questions you should ask yourself and steps you can and should take:
• Revamp your business plan: Whether you have something started on paper or whether it all lives in your head, having a written business plan places you in the driver seat for the upcoming year. Getting clear on what you want to build or how you want to grow gives you clarity on how to focus your energy. Are you looking for growth? Looking to increase your profitability? Or like many, simply looking to have more freedom!?! If you aren’t sure the first steps to building out your business plan, check out our guide: Amplify your growth, how to write a business plan in 60 minutes.
• Map out your big-ticket anchors for the next year: What is important to you and why you are working so hard on your business? Maybe it is making that trip to Paris you want possible while the business works successfully and worry-free without you being in the office. Perhaps you or someone on your team has a baby on the way, and you need to plan things to run smoothly during their time off. Or maybe you simply want more time for yourself and your family on a regular basis. Set 3-4 “big anchors” to help you see it on the calendar and get clear on what needs to get done in advance. Next, map out 3-4 milestones that need to happen leading up to the end goal. This helps you march forward and ensuring it all happens smoothly.
• Figure Out ‘End Of Year’ Spending And Tax Planning And, Above All, Don’t Forget To Take Your Profit – You Earned It!: Of course, there better be some profit left for you or we need to talk, and I’ll tell you again and again, quit working so hard and not taking home what you deserve. Profit is not a bad word. In fact, it is the purpose of doing business in the first place. Understand where you want to be and where you are currently and map a quarterly plan to make changes and increase that profit. There are five ways to increase profit, so plan accordingly!!
During the final weeks of the year, you should be in contact with your CPA talking through your end of the year cash flow, projected revenues and expenses for the next year, as well as any tax savings to take advantage of before the end of this year. For instance, it might make sense to purchase some new software or tools before the end of the year and take the deductions. This is a meeting you definitely should have as part of your year-end planning process, so you don’t miss out on starting the new year with a cash flow advantage, or perhaps even a windfall!
• Start the Interview Process For Anyone You Think You Want To Hire In January: The new year always kicks off with a boom and before you know it the whole month is gone. One of the best times of the year to pick up some A players is the beginning of the year. People are often ready for a change and in a good mood to consider new opportunities after the holiday season. People look at the year ahead and often wish for something better – so why not give them something better to consider in joining you to uplevel their lives too? You can easily leverage the fact that more often than not, people wrap up their year at a job and realize they no longer feel valued and appreciated. This is when they start looking for a new position.
If you know you want to hire in January, set the seed with some of your top candidates, so you get everything going immediately after the first of the year. And, at the same time, guard well your existing high performers… make sure they don’t have a reason to look elsewhere and that they finish their year amazed and pleased with what they’ve accomplished in your business not to mention being eager to continue with you in the coming year. Upleveling a business not only uplevels your life, but the lives of everyone you employ – and that’s contagious in a very good way!
• Build Out Your Marketing Plan For The New Year: Nothing makes you feel more in charge of the year than having a clear game plan with your marketing. Paying attention to marketing, your brand and your positioning in the market will return dividends on your time, not to mention encourage your entire workforce to engage as you move your business forward with positive positioning. Decide on the marketing message themes that you want to share in January and then February and then March and write them down. Then think of a couple of ways you can spread that message. For instance, “New Year, New You” is a powerful theme to get people to take action and move forward toward solving their problem or opportunity. February themes often tie in with “love”. One I am fond of is “give the gift of love, give the gift of a referral.”
The key is to map out your message and then how you will spread the word. When possible, delegate portions of the marketing tasks to those around you to help ensure it all gets done – share the activity to bring your team closer to what you want for the future and people will ignite with an infectious enthusiasm to “get the message out.” All these tactical marketing points are driven by your strategic marketing plan, and they are the way you implement that plan, so why delay? Start the new year with a strong presence, and you’ll have a great foundation for the rest of the year.
Yes, the end of the year is a busy time, and there are many things you would LIKE TO DO, but finding a few hours to work on your business makes all the difference in the world! It will enable all the things you would like to do and also allow you to find some things you never thought of that will build even more success as you uplevel your business, your life and the lives of your employees.