We are well into the last quarter of 2016, and it won’t be long before the chaotic rush of the holidays remind us once again that the year is coming to a close. For many of us who wish to prioritize family during the holiday season, it pays to start planning to wind down business early instead of trying to clean up the mess after the new year begins.
While many end-of-year business checklists tend to remind us to get business accounts in order and are skewed towards tax purposes, I personally like to remind fellow business owners to approach it from the macro level. For starters, block out some time in the coming weeks to sit down for some “CEO time” and reflect on the past business year.
Let’s start with the engine of your business.
They are none other than your administrative and operational procedures that keep the business running smoothly on a daily basis. Is your organizational structure sufficient? Does your current workflow actually work? If things fall apart more often than you can fix them, then the answer is a resounding “no”.
Just as how you should get an oil change regularly, these processes should be constantly reviewed and fine-tuned to keep your business chugging along and help poise it for growth. If you find work piling up quicker than you can clear them, you have a problem. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with your customers, you have a problem. If you feel some restructuring might be in order, more often than not, the answer to these problems is simply that your business needs to be streamlined.
Another crucial thing to reflect upon at this time, would be the effectiveness of your marketing plan. Which strategies worked and which didn’t? A good indicator would be to look at the number of leads each strategy brought in. Make a list and arrange them from the most leads to the least, and decide which ones should be kept, which should be revamped, and which should be scrapped. At this point, it would also be good to figure out your budget for 2017. Should it be increased? Can you afford it? Or do you need to cut back? It might be wise to note that some investment in marketing may go a long way in bringing in more long term revenue.
Are all the parts working?
A business is only as successful as the sum of its parts, and in this case, they are your team members. Call them what you will, but having a great team is half the battle won. And great teams need to be maintained from time to time. Take a moment to assess your team; What has been done well over the past year and what can be improved?
While we tend to focus more on the negatives, it is also important to communicate team wins. No matter how they have been performing, constructive feedback is necessary for the growth of the individual and the team as a whole. If things have been going great for your business, take some time to also figure out how you’re going to show your appreciation for your team.
Don’t run out of gas.
Keep your engine of a business running by constantly replenishing its source of fuel. While many others are winding down business, get out there and attend as many networking events as possible. There will be many happening during the last few months of the year. Taking the time to collect contacts and build up your email list at these events will give yourself a good start to 2017. Start warming up those leads now!
Once you get all these in order, you’ll be about ready to close out the year and spend some quality time with your loved ones without worrying about the slack you have to pick up at the start of next year. So, how ready are you for the year end festivities?
Operational & Administrative Consultant
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