While some small business owners might not start thinking about goals until the end of the year, the most prescient professionals are thinking about this now, so that they will not overload themselves, and their staff, by trying to do everything at the last minute.
With more time to plan, small business owners can more accurately foresee what will need to be accomplished and how best to undertake it so that 2016 ends smoothly and 2017 will be even more successful.
The best advice is to make a list now of what needs to be done and assign each task to specific team members to ensure these are handled before the year end. Jot down how many big projects there are left to finish and prioritize them. Ensure that someone is in charge of overseeing each one and that all team members are aware of the deadlines you have in place.
Alongside finishing your business projects, you should organize for the year ahead. This could consist of things such as prospecting, analyzing the business year, tackling taxes, and more. When it comes to prospecting, for example, even if the year is ending, you don't want to fall into a peaks and valleys scenario. You should make sure your sales actions match your sales goals. Furthermore, it is a good idea to contact your current customers now, before they get too busy with year end work, to ensure that they are happy with your service and have no additional needs. If they do have extra needs it is good to be aware of them well in advance of holidays so you can tackle those head on.
Another important chore to handle before year end is business analysis so that you can plan for the year ahead. You should not leave this until the last minute as you can begin now to evaluate what worked and what did not. You can ask your accounting team to start crunching numbers to analyze revenue so that you can evaluate how well the business did. This way you can plan for next year and decide what to offer and expand. You should divest yourself of any products, and/or services, that accrued only 10 percent or less of revenue according to Tina Forsyth, author of The Entrepreneur’s Trap. When crunching the numbers you should also tally business costs. You need to have a plan in place so that before 2017 comes you know where and how you can you improve your small business to make it more efficient and reduce expenses.
You should also examine how well you achieved your goals in 2016 and how well your staff succeeded in helping you achieve those goals. As a leader, it should be your project to work out what you need to do more of, or change moving into 2017. You should not leave this until the last minute. Likewise, you need to have clear ideas about how to guide your staff going forward and whether there are staff that need to be hired, fired or trained in the latest and greatest skills so that 2016 ends with a clear vision of your goals for 2017.