The end of the year is a great time to organize your thoughts and think about what you need to improve for the following year. Think about adjustments you need to make. What could you do to improve yourself and your business?
What goals could you complete in these last couple of weeks? Some goals can be carried over if you missed them. Don’t focus so much on missed opportunities. Think about what you want to do for this next year and finish up some things for this year.
It is time to celebrate those things which you did complete and learn from the mistakes you may have made.
Here are some suggestions to end your year strong for your small business:
1. Review your annual goals
You probably made goals for your small business last year. Review them and determine what you need to change for the next year. Start thinking about what you want to do. What goals do you want to achieve to take your business to the next level?
Did you complete what you wanted this year? If not, then think about what you need to do differently. Also, ensure your goals are SMARTgoals. They should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
If you state you want to increase your sales by 20%, ensure you put a date of when to review it again. Also ensure you can achieve your goal. It can be a stretch for you, but you want to be able to achieve it, or you may become frustrated.
Ensure the same for your employees. You may need to make adjustments to your goals throughout the year. However, the end of the year is a great time to review those goals and see where you need to make additions or changes as well.
2. Review your financials before the end of the year
Look at your budgeted and projected costs and sales. Are there adjustments you need to make? Where can you cut down on your expenses for the next year? You should check your numbers to ensure you make any necessary changes before the year ends.
Also, review what you need for your taxes. Ensure your vendors have completed a W-9 form so you can send them a 1099 at the beginning of next year. Whenever you pay a vendor over $600 for the year, you are required to issue that vendor a Form 1099-Misc. Independent contractors are required to report this income for their taxes.
Do a final inventory count and ensure your numbers are good. Ensure you are ready to end your tax year strong.
3. Evaluate your policies and handbooks
Are there any policies in which you should add or delete in your employee handbook? The end of the year is a great time to review your handbook. However, ensure you review your state and federal laws before you implement a new policy. For example, if you want to put a drug policy in place to do random drug tests, some states have restrictions. Ensure you understand your laws.
Are there any policies your employees would like you to make? For example, could this be the year you will be able to offer some flexible scheduling or work from home opportunities?
Think about what you could do to help your employees. If you have growth on your mind for your small business, these kinds of programs could help you become a top place to work. However, you shouldn’t implement these programs until your business is ready.
4. Review your sales projections
Did you meet them? If not, what could you do to get more sales? Or get new sales for next year? Budgets are cut every year, so this may be a time to get your last-minute sales in with other businesses which may use your products.
Offer to begin projects for them today which will help them get a good start on next year. This is when all major companies are reviewing their current and future goals. Be on someone’s goal list.
Also, take this time to review your customer service goals. Ensure your business has top-notch service for your customers. Think about what you could do different and implement measurable systems or processes to ensure customer satisfaction.
What other ideas could you implement to boost your revenue for your small business?
5. Meet with your employees
Meet with your employees to discuss critical things which must be done and find out where they may need help. Are they missing something on their goals list? You should ensure they understand your projections and where you would like to take the company.
Likewise, you should find out what they need from you.
Ask your employees to brainstorm some ideas to take the business to the next level. You may find that some ideas will engage and excite your team. By asking them for their input, they will feel included in your business.
Many times, employees feel more engaged in a small business. They want the business to succeed and often they feel as if it’s their business as well. It is important to ask for their input.
Throw a party for them as well. Celebrate their successes and consider giving awards for your top performers. The end of the year is a great time for celebration.
6. Review your HR practices
Review your HR practices for the next year. Do you think you will be hiring more people or even your first employee? Ensure you put your hiring plans in the goals you make.
Bringing on employees can take a lot of your time, so you should ensure you hire good people the first time. You don’t want turnover by making a bad hiring decision.
Also think about training. What areas do you and your employees need developed to take you to the next level? Generic training programs don’t always fit unless there is a safety or legal compliance issue like sexual harassment.
For example, if you want to develop your leadership team about how to handle problem employees, you may need more of a specialized program. Likewise, if you are considering promoting great employees with no leadership experience, you should think about investing in a leadership training program.
Review your goals and find out what you could do differently. Make sure your goals are achievable and strong. Think about where you would like to take your sales and get your business to the next level. The end of the year is a great time to research new ideas to make more sales or grow your own business.
Prioritize your most essential tasks. If you are unable to do everything, ensure you can complete the things which are more important. You only have a little time left this year, so you shouldn’t stress yourself out.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook says, “The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
Think about some risks you can take for this next year. Ensure those risks won’t take away your business though. The end of the year is a time to celebrate your successes and look for improvements. Stay focused and stay on plan. End your year strong.