How to Effectively Prepare Your Business for the End of the Year

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 11.57.13Photo by Dwayne Blee

Mid-November may still seem a little bit early to start talking about the festive season, but it’s certainly not too early to start thinking about preparing your business for the end of the year.

Most business owners won’t be ending the fiscal year till March or April, but the end of the calendar year can still feel very significant. I think that the end of one year and the start of another is an excellent time to review how things are going and decide where you want to go next.

Here are some thoughts from me on how to make sure your business is prepared for the end of the year.

Decide on holiday time off and let your customers know

We all deserve some time off over the festive season! If you haven’t already, now is the time to choose your dates and let your customers and staff know.

If you have a retail premises you’ll need to publicise any seasonal closures in branch and on your website. If you sell products you will need to let buyers know about potential delays in shipping. If you are a consultant you will want to block the days out in your diary and let your retainer clients know that you won’t be available during that time.  

Set ‘last order’ dates

The run up to Christmas can be a very busy time. This is definitely true in the retail and hospitality sectors where it can be the most profitable time of the year. December can also be manic for service providers and consultants as many customers will want to get their projects ‘done’ in time for the new year.

Make sure you don’t spend the last few days before Christmas in a panic by setting non-negotiable last order dates now. This may mean last dates for shipping out products, or it may mean the last dates where you’ll accept work to be done for a 2015 deadline.

Evaluate this year’s business resolutions and your progress

Most business owners set business resolutions for the new year. What were your plans at the start of 2015? Even if you haven’t actively been working towards them for the last few months, the end of the year is the ideal time to take a look at how you fared. You may discover that you did more work towards your yearly goals than you thought… or you may find that outside forces meant other areas of your business had to take priority.

Whatever your findings, taking the time to sit down and do a yearly review will help you to better understand how to move forward.

Start to develop SMART targets for the year ahead

Once you’ve completed your yearly review for 2015, you’ll be in an excellent position to begin to develop SMART targets for 2016. If you’re not familiar with the term, SMART is an acronym that stands for:

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-related

My clients and I find this model really helpful when setting targets. If you use this you’ll be able to ensure you come up with goals that you’ll be able to stick to.

Remind yourself what you have to celebrate

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you just how important it is to celebrate your business achievements. Your successes for 2015 might have been big… or they might have been small. Either way, remind yourself what has been great about your business this year and set some time aside to celebrate! Being a business owner is rarely easy and we all deserve a special acknowledgement of how hard we’ve worked.

How will you be effectively preparing your business for the end of the year? If you have any tips that haven’t been mentioned here, I’d be keen to hear them. Why not share them on the Green Shoots Coaching Facebook page?  

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