What you should do before year end business close

As the year gradually draws to a close, many business owners are looking forward to a winding down of operations and a chance to rest for some time. While this is a very good idea and this period should give time to refresh the body and soul for a new year, it should also be a time to review the business growth and financial performance during the year.

Taking time to evaluate the wins and losses, challenges and opportunities as well as lessons learnt during the year will help to chart a new course for growth in the new year as well as map out an execution plan to make it happen. Here are few things to consider as you wind down and prepare for the new year:

Review your books

Your financial statements are a reflection of business’ financial health and how well it has fared during the year. After all the hustling for 12 months, it’s good to take stock. As you review your numbers, look out for performing and non-performing assets, slow moving and obsolete stocks, debts, liabilities, cash balances, investments and profits or losses.

This review will only make sense if you have kept proper books of accounts during the year. You can engage an accountant or financial planner to help you understand what the numbers mean for your business and what actions you need to take to further strengthen the performing areas of your business and fix the areas of breakdowns.

Evaluate your productivity and staff performance

If you run a business on your own, it’ll be worthwhile to assess whether you worked efficiently during the year. That is, if you achieved the optimal productivity level given the resources at your disposal. You may find that you need to acquire some new skills or improve on an existing one based on the trends and the demand in the business environment. It goes without saying that for your business to be more, you have to become more.

If you have a team, staff evaluations are very important and should be done in a structured manner. Your staff contributions should be assessed based on set criteria that are important for your business and the roles performed by each staff. This also assumes that you have earlier communicated the expectations of each roles and KPIs to the staff.

Appreciate your employees

This could be done in different ways. From verbal or written commendation and recognition, gifts, to company sponsored events; it does not have to be costly or be a drain on the company’s budget. Whatever you choose to do must at least show that you appreciate your staff contribution to the growth of your business.

Say “Thank You” to your customers

One of the ways to make loyal customers is by acknowledging them. Let them know you appreciate the business they did with you by sending thank you notes, greeting cards, souvenirs or giving little freebies as a token of appreciation. It goes a long way to endear the hearts of your customers to you and may mean the difference between starting the new year on a high note to barely finding customers that will stick with you as you plan for growth in the new year.

Plan for the new year

Most big organisations plan end of year retreats to map out a plan for the coming year. You should do same for your growing business even if you are the only one for now. After reviewing your business, you need to sharpen your strong areas and fix your breakdowns. You may find that you need to:

Restructure your business or change your business model

Develop new partnerships or strengthen existing business relationships

Hire new staff or fire redundant ones

Retrain yourself and your staff

Upgrade your equipment or buy new ones

Replenish your stock

Launch a new marketing campaign, etc

Every element of your plan should be geared towards increased productivity, higher output levels, more patronage, more revenue and profits.

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