With holiday hustle and bustle in high gear, many business owners are winding down—carving out time for the annual office party and preparing for a smooth coast into the new year. Though distractions tend to be abnormally high, the month of December is available time to plan for success in the new year
Make the last few weeks of December count by implementing these 12-holiday housecleaning tips—our version of the “12 Days of Christmas.”
1. On the first day of Christmas, create a business roadmap
Throughout the year, it’s easy to lose focus on true business goals and priorities because we’re tackling urgent day-to-day activities. But what about our long-term business goals? With a new year just around the corner, now is the time to make sure you haven’t dropped the ball—no pun intended. Reassess and get reacquainted with your ambitions. Ask yourself: Where is the business now? How far has it come? Where do I want it to go?
Once you pinpoint these answers, create a detailed goal-fulfillment plan with checkpoints throughout each week, month, and quarter of the new year. Remember, establishing quarterly goals is essential to achieving annual goals, which move you closer toward long-term goals.
2. On the second day of Christmas, review your finances
An annual financial review can help you spot small problems before they become big ones. Start with a personal review of your financial statements. If you are looking to sell, attract investors, or receive financing in the new year, it’s important that your statements communicate how much money you made and how you made it. Go beyond the high-level overview to itemize your gross profit. This will allow buyers, investors, or loan officers to assess what’s really driving profit for your company and create a better internal understanding of your financial situation.
3. On the third day of Christmas, forecast your financial growth
Understanding how much money you need for the next stage of your endeavor is a crucial step in planning for the year ahead. You can make assumptions based on previous performance data to forecast future growth. For established companies, reviewing and analyzing 26 months of data will indicate how your business is performing.
4. On the fourth day of Christmas, assess your brand
A successful new year starts with understanding your company’s personality. Reflecting on what makes your business unique, trustworthy, and valuable will help define and more accurately direct your brand to a target audience. Once you’ve reflected on your brand, design a plan to stay the course or redirect your company’s brand.
5. On the fifth day of Christmas, evaluate your company culture
According to Gallup, employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the world $ 7.8 trillion in lost productivity. On the other hand, happy employees are twice as productive, more energized, apt to stay in their jobs longer and take fewer sick days. Company culture is the magic that makes or breaks a company.
6. On the sixth day of Christmas, tune into your personal goals
What are your personal goals? Do you hope to retire in five years? Are you a serial entrepreneur who wants to jumpstart several more companies? Do you want more family time? Reconnecting with your personal ambitions and desires should be part of your company’s plan for the new year.
7. On the seventh day of Christmas, evaluate your management team
The employees who help run your organization strongly determine the success of the business. Are you confident that your management team will remain secure into the new year? Are a handful of your company’s leaders reaching retirement age? Do you have junior managers who are prepped and ready to fill your senior management team’s shoes? The stability of your management team determines your day-to-day flexibility as CEO and is a major factor if and when you decide to sell your business. Buyers and investors value your company largely on the stability of your management team. After all, they’re the individuals who will remain if you exit the company.
8. On the eighth day of Christmas, focus on working smarter, not harder
To take your business to the next level, you must rise above the day-to-day grind and evaluate the systems and processes currently in place to ensure peak performance. So often, we mask challenges with quick fixes instead of addressing the root of the problem. In doing this, we continue to run into the same issues, which consume valuable time that could be used to grow our organizations. Think about constant challenges that arise in your business, and design a system that will act as a permanent solution.
9. On the ninth day of Christmas, evaluate your facility
Your facility’s design, structural appeal and location could play a large part in the customers and employees you attract. Additionally, if you’re planning for growth, you should ensure your existing location is able to support that evolution. Finding space, securing financing, and negotiating a new lease or purchase can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. Keep this timeline in mind as you plan for the coming year.
10. On the tenth day of Christmas, research your financing options
To grow, you may require financing. Traditional bank loans can be difficult to come by and may end up costing more than necessary. Talk with your investment banker to learn about securing financing options unique to your company, the possibility of private equity investments, and debt financing solutions.
11. On the eleventh day of Christmas, survey your clients or customers
Your business’s mission revolves around serving your clients. There’s no better way to determine howyou’re doing than by asking. Now is a great time of year to send a survey because, as we all know, most people and businesses slow down around the holidays. This month, your clients will have time to reflect and give you genuine and useful feedback. There’s one condition, though: After your clients take the time to offer their opinions, start putting them to use.
12. On the twelfth day of Christmas, celebrate
You and your team have worked hard this year. Host a party or small get-together for your team so you can enjoy the year’s successes together.
After you’ve accomplished the tips on this list and checked them twice, you’ve successfully wrapped up the year. Here’s to a happy and fruitful new year for you and your business.