SMALL BUSINESS IN 2015: 7 END-OF-YEAR TASKS TO COMPLETE BEFORE 2015Written by Uwe on December 21, 2014
Tasks to accomplish before New Year
It’s that time of the year again! So excited for Christmas yet can’t believe that New Year is also just around the corner. That nagging list of to-do’s keeps popping back in your mind and all you want to do is, take a break and enjoy the holidays.
What does that mean for you as a small business? Are you excited to embrace the New Year or still worrying over a ton of things? Regardless, here’s a little guide to help you through overwhelming period with much more ease and assurance. This handy check list will make it easier for you to make sure that you, as a small business, have completed all things necessary before the New Year and can put your mind at peace and step forward with a clean slate.
Review your systems
Take a look back at the year and see what has worked for you in the past and what hasn’t. See what areas have given you the most problem and how they can be fixed. The last thing you want to do is move into the New Year with problems that have been dragging on forever. Quite often businesses, regardless of their size, tend to overlook minimal problems areas thinking they can wait. But what happens is that before you know it, these innocent trouble areas keep piling up and blow up into a massive problem that then requires so much more time and money to fix. Let’s make sure you don’t take this into the future. Take a look at the way your financial books have been handled in the past. Perhaps have some experts come in and inspect your technologies. Take into account all areas your employees might have raised concern or complained about. You will be surprised at how eye opening this can be. So take this time to bring to light all your bad business habits and eliminate them from your system. Move forward with a clean slate!
Treat your employees as equals
Just as you did a complete system review in the first time, this is also a great time to review your employees. They are after all the people who engage with your customers. Never forget their importance in the success of your business. Employees are alike an untapped spring of fantastic ideas. They can give you some real insights on your customers and some great tips on how to improve your business to enjoy more satisfied customers. Start adopting a principle of holding an open forum at the end of each year. Invite your employees to get together and share their ideas and express their feelings towards the company and their experience working for the company. But don’t stop at just that. Make sure you take serious note of the good ideas that flow through in this session and then reward them for their input. Keep your employees motivated and passionate towards the success of your company. Small businesses have a greater edge over larger companies in terms of having a more dedicated team of employees. Having a small team means you have the ability to listen to all your employees and keep them happy. So take that advantage and learn to gain from it.
Time for spring cleaning
This might sound funny as it’s surely not spring time. But whoever invented the term “spring cleaning” certainly didn’t think of it in terms of small businesses. For you, spring cleaning is the end of the year. Take this opportunity to completely de-clutter your office and wave goodbye to the things you don’t need. Encourage all your employees to get together and do this as a team. Reward them in the end and this can turn into another motivating activity your employees will appreciate and enjoy. Who doesn’t like a cleaner fresher office? Invest in some flowers, plants and a paint touch up. It’s the end of the year, you have worked hard to reach this stage, and you deserve it!
Conduct a marketing review
The end of the year is also a great time to review your marketing activities. Which campaigns have produced positive results and which have failed? Don’t hesitate in making any tweaks here and there or perhaps totally getting rid of some practices that you feel did not bring in any positive difference to the company. This is your chance to fresh start. Take your experience forward and make sure you undo your mistakes. Focus on new marketing techniques and look into ways of improvement.
Reward your best customers
No business is successful without loyal customers. This is your chance to reward them too. Find out which of your customers have really stuck with you throughout and touch base with them. Thank them of their help, support, and loyalty. Treat them as VIP’s and make sure you bring them forward into the New Year with renowned enthusiasm towards your products and services. Do also consider this a great time to get their feedback. Request them for some insightful feedback. Customers feel flattered knowing their opinions matter and have been heard. On the other hand it will be priceless for your business in finding out which areas it needs to work on in the New Year.
Reviewing your vendors
Amidst all the reviews you are conducting, don’t forget to review your vendors. Take a look at who you have the strongest relationship with and send them a polite note of thank you and wish them a happy New Year. Make sure you take these healthy relationships forward to the next year with you. But at the same time it is equally important to reconsider contracts with vendors that are perhaps not living up to your expectations. This is your fresh start and thus it is crucial for you to make sure this is spelled out to them too. If you feel that one of your vendors has not been offering the results you were expecting, don’t hesitate in considering someone new for the New Year. As I mentioned earlier, move into the New Year with a clean slate.
Set goals for the next year
Make sure you don’t leave this task until the New Year. Goals should be set in advance and this is the best time to do so. Focus on building a road map for your business to follow in the New Year. Make sure you revise and reflect upon the bigger picture. What is the ultimate goal you are working towards? What do you look forward to achieving? What are the nitty gritty details that you need to work on to achieve the ultimate goal? How can you ensure you don’t repeat the same mistakes and grow positively? Spell out all of these clearly and this will help you immensely in setting some realistic goals to work toward in the New Year.
Make sure all your employees are briefed on this. Hold a meeting with them and acknowledge how their hard work has helped achieve and bring the business to where it is today. Then share with them your aspirations for the New Year so they feel included in the bigger picture. Also welcome feedback at this stage. And finally, don’t forget to celebrate. Celebrate all you have achieved, celebrate the end of the year, and celebrate the beginning of the New Year.
These seven tasks will help you feel more thrilled towards the New Year with a sense of accomplishment. You will be able to see the little achievements you have made that we so often tend to forget by being overwhelmed by the long path that still lies ahead of us. As a small business it’s important you take things year by year and not forget to pat your back for achievements you have made.