Getting Your Business Prepared For 2015!
As we approach the end of the 2014 year now is a good time to start reflecting on how your business has performed this year and analysing where your business can improve into 2015. Did you achieve your financial targets for 2014? If not why not? Did your business grow and expand this year as anticipated? What problem areas did your business encounter this year and what lessons were learned that you can take into 2015? What is your growth strategy for 2015 and how is this going to be achieved? Do you require additional supports to achieve this growth that you didn’t have in 2014? Is the current structure of your organisation working or do you need new staff to inject a new energy into the business? Now is the time to reflect on these issues and to start planning for success in 2015. Below are some areas to consider as you begin plotting your course for next year.
Many small businesses don’t analyse their financial position on an ongoing basis and some regularly don’t know where they stand in real time. Get your business accounts reviewed early in January so that you have the full picture from this year straight way. Up to date information is critical when making future plans. This way you will know your tax position and can start saving in plenty of time, you will be aware of how much free capital you have to re-invest into growth strategies and you can tighten up on the any small wastages identified from 2014 so that your business is as streamlined as possible. Rather than keeping this process introverted and tunnel visioned, schedule an appointment with your financial advisor for mid-January as a different perspective can be hugely beneficial. It also helps take the emotion out of the process for the business owner and be open to a different perspective they may not have otherwise considered.
This includes both financial and personnel. After the financial review you should know whether your business has enough working capital on hand to sustain your growth ambitions or if external funding will be required for 2015. If funding is required decide on how much, what will it be spent on and what are the anticipated gains from the spend? Also it is important to review how staff performed in the previous year and identify areas for personal improvement. Most staff will be interested in improving their performance and the process of running through an appraisal (whether formal or informal) can be a positive experience for both parties from a development perspective.
Operational and Strategic Review
Has the business been pursuing the right strategies this year and doing enough of the right things on a continual basis? No matter how hard a business works in attempting drive positive developments, if it is the wrong path the business is following then success will be minimal. Is your business on the right path? Also how efficient are the way that tasks are being carried out? Is everything running smoothly or are there areas that need to be looked at (communication, morale, time management, leadership techniques and empowerment are all common areas to address). Is a structure in place for regular staff meetings? Is the reporting structure working or does it require updating? Is everyone in the business clear on their roles and responsibilities? Most business owners will automatically say yes without thinking when asked these questions but is that really the case?
Business Planning for 2015
When it comes to effective business planning most businesses don’t take the time to map out how they are going to achieve their goals from the start of the year. Sometimes a vague half day workshop is undertaken with key management staff away from the office but in most cases this process takes the form of a few semi-structured meetings with a wide range of topics discussed and action plans developed to support its implementation. While this is a useful starting point, in order to be truly prepared a business needs to list out in a step by step methodical manner the exact financial and development goals of the company for the year and a detailed road map as to how these goals are to be achieved. Call them business plans, marketing plan, communications plan, financial plan or whatever title you want but include the core elements of how the goals will be achieve and keep it as short and to the point as possible. If it ends up being a long boring document the chances of its full implementation will decrease dramatically.
Start 2015 as you mean go on?
As 2015 dawns set the tone right from the start of the year and start setting time aside now for early January to complete your preparations. When there is positive change forecasted everyone in the company gets a boost and a new positive energy is evident at the start of a new year. Capitalise on this and incorporate at least one positive change for each staff member into the planning process. Sit down with your business advisor or mentor in January and work with them on setting your goals and targets for the year. Update your monitoring structure based on your new ambitions for the business (are monthly/quarterly management accounts needed, can you outsource some of the financial administration, how much external management support are you going to need next year?). Don’t let these areas drift beyond the start of the year. Right now is the time to start planning for success!
Contact Avid Partners for help in getting business plans organised for 2015. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call us on 0818 303087 or fill in the form below.
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