Prepare your business for the New Year

December 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, it can be a good time to reflect on how your business has performed.  It is also an ideal time of year to begin planning ahead to give your business the New Year start it deserves – here are our top business planning tips for small businesses.

Your New Year business resolutions 

Everyone knows how hard it is to make resolutions and stick to them, but it’s normally because the goals aren’t realistic. Therefore, make sure your business resolutions are simple and achievable. The trick is to set your targets and put in sensible ways of measuring your progress. This applies to any goal – whether it’s people, product, service, overheads, expansion or profits. Taking this mindset can help make a real difference to how your business performs in the future.

Reflect on the past year

You need to ask yourself three questions:

Apply these to any activities that went well – it could be anything from carrying out a job more efficiently to winning a new customer. You can then build upon these successes over the coming year. After looking at the wins, it’s worth looking at the things that were OK. As these could be turned into wins in the coming year as they may only need a few adjustments to do this.

Although it may be a little disheartening looking at what didn’t work well, you must understand why they didn’t work. This will help you avoid these mistakes in the future.

Make a business plan

Drawing up a business plan doesn’t need to be complicated and doesn’t even have to be lots of facts or figures, it just needs to be clear about what your goals are.

You may already have a business plan, in which case, all you need to do is check that it is still accurate and relevant to your business. You may need to tweak a few things, but you will have a solid starting point, so it shouldn’t take too long.

It will ensure your business stays on track but will help you and your accountant spot future tax planning opportunities that in turn could lead to tax savings.

Draft a marketing plan

Alongside your business plan you should look at drafting a marketing plan. This can prove invaluable in helping you reach your goals as it will focus on the sales side of your business, whether it’s new customers you’re after or cross selling other services/products to existing ones. It will also allow you to consider new ways of reaching your customers – such as using social media or getting Google reviews. There will be many marketing professionals you can reach out to who can help you with this if it's not something you've put in place before. 

Map out your future

Once you have your plans in place, you now need to create a roadmap on how you are going to achieve them. Breaking your goals down into smaller chunks will make achieving them seem less overwhelming and more importantly will ensure success is more likely. Once you have done this, it’s sometimes good to start with the items that you know you can achieve, this will give you the motivation to work on some of the more challenging items.

Review your costs

While it is important to increase profitability by increasing sales volume and/or raising your prices, it is also imporant not to overlook the opportunities within your business by reviewing your costs. For example, you could change to lower-cost suppliers or switch your utilities provider and save money? Do you need to take on extra staff, or could you do things more efficiently?

Also look at when you are incurring costs because a bit of forward planning could mean great tax efficiencies can be achieved if costs are incurred at the right time of year.

Update your technology

Are you fully utilising today’s technology to make your business as efficient and future proof as possible? It might be time to use an online bookkeeping software, like QuickBooks, to manage your business’ finances. This would ensure you have the correct financial data at your fingertips to make important business decisions.

It might be as simple as investing in a couple of iPads so that your salespeople can make professional presentations to clients. The right technology not only helps with the smooth running of your business but can also give you an edge over your rivals.

Staffing

It might just be you in the business at the moment, but this year could be the year that you need to hire someone to help, or you may need extra help. Whether it’s administrative support, marketing help, technical support or salespeople that you require, it’s a decision not to make lightly. Businesses do need the right people to grow but finding the perfect candidates can take time and money. Therefore, you will need to calculate exactly what you want from your new staff member and make sure you take your time to find the right person for the job.

Don’t delay, start now!

Spending dedicated time now to look ahead at 2020 will mean you will come back after the Christmas break ready to hit the ground running. You’ll feel refreshed, you’ll have plans and goals for your business, and if you need any help or advice with the financial aspects of running your business then please contact us today on 0800 0523 555 or complete our contact form.