The end of the year is a great time to think about what changes you should make for the upcoming year. What are some areas in which you could improve? Did your business suffer this last year? What could you do differently to ensure it thrives for the upcoming year?
It is time to think about some things you should do by the end of the year such as:
Consider Changing Your Marketing Tactics
Because this year may have been a challenge for your small business, you should find areas in which you should change. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t. What has always worked in the past, may not work for you any longer. Did your business suffer in sales? If you haven’t already, now is the time to think about out-of-the-box marketing ideas. How could you market your business to fit today’s needs?
For example, if you own a janitorial business, what benefits would you offer a client? Customers may want more disinfecting or sanitizing services. When talking to a potential client who is considering your services, you may want to focus on the number one problem they have and how your company can fix it.
If you own a landscaping business, many people who work at home may prefer to have a landscaper now that they see what needs to be done. What can you do to show them how you can help?
What problems can your small business fix for potential clients right now?
Consider changing your marketing tactics and think about what you can do differently to make more money.
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. Did you complete what you wanted this year? If not, then think about what you need to do differently. Also, ensure your goals are SMART goals. 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. But, make sure your goals are achievable.
Ensure the same for your employees. You may need to make adjustments to your goals this next 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.
Review your Financials Before the End of the Year
Determine the financial health of your small business. Develop a financial checklist and run your financial statements. 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. Know when you are required to issue your vendors a Form 1099-Misc. Independent contractors are required to report this income for their taxes.
If you can, evaluate your vendors. Is there a vendor you can change that may save you money or give you better service?
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Evaluate Your Policies and Your Employee Handbook
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, make sure 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. Research new laws that may start in the upcoming year.
If you implemented work from home opportunities or flexible scheduling this year, make sure you have those policies written and put in your handbook. What new actions do you see your company doing next year? You will want to make sure you have written policies in place for any new business approaches.
Review Your Sales Projections
Did you meet your sales projections? If not, what could you do to get more sales in the next year? Budgets are cut every year, so this may be a time to get your last-minute sales in with other businesses that may use your products or services. Offer to begin projects for them today which will help them get a good start on the 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 offers top-notch service for your customers.
Think about what you could do differently and implement measurable systems or processes to ensure customer satisfaction. What other ideas could you implement to boost your revenue for your small business?
Meet with Your Employees
Meet with your employees to discuss critical items that 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.
Throw a party for them. Celebrate their successes and consider giving awards to your top performers. The end of the year is a great time for celebration.
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 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 to be 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.
Consider Using a Time Clock App
Do you now have employees who work at different locations? An app like ezClocker makes it easy for your employees to clock in and out from anywhere. Also, it allows employees to view their schedules and it has features that will notify employees if a schedule has changed. This allows your employees to receive their schedules on their phone or computer as soon as you post them.
The ezClocker app also has GPS so you can verify that your employees clocked in and out at the worksite.
What Else Should You Do Before the End of the Year?
If you are changing something that potential customers should know make sure your website and all marketing materials are updated if needed.
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.