The end of the year is typically a flurry of action with holidays, family and shopping. It can be overwhelming and take up a lot of your attention. But this is not the time to slack-off when it comes to your small business.
There are a lot of things you need to prepare for at the end of the year, and a lot of things that can slip through the cracks or seem less important. It’s important that you make the time to focus solely on your business and block-out the rest of the world, including your family, even if it’s only for a few hours at a time.
Try staying on top of things at the end of the year in the following ways:
- Prepare for the holidays- Before the holidays hit, make sure you’re ready. Check your inventory and make sure you’re stocked and organized. Double check that your holiday marketing materials are ready and in place. Even if you’re not planning any holiday sales or discounts, find a way to join the holiday hoopla anyway. Even if it’s as simple as decorations, customers will appreciate the festive feel.
- Clean your finances– Q4 is the time to look at your expenses and cut the excess. Reducing your costs now increases your bottom line moving into the coming year.
- Check your marketing investments– If you tracked your marketing endeavors (which you should always do), now is the time to make sure there is a return on your investments. Check every lead, sale and development from every form of marketing you pursued in the past year. This helps you understand which endeavor worked, and which can be ditched before the new year. Plan your marketing efforts for the new year around this data.
- Mix and mingle– If you lack in the referral partner game, the holidays are the perfect time to reach out to other local small business owners. Find holiday parties or events they’re either at or throwing, and start mixing and mingling. You may even consider throwing your own holiday party. These relationships are important to the success of your business, so don’t isolate yourself.
- Find ways to revamp– The end of the year is the perfect time to revamp your image/presence in the market. In the digital age, your website is critical to your business image. If you can afford to, and your current one is hopelessly dated, have a new site built. If a new website isn’t feasible, write new material and biographies for the existing website to freshen it up.
- Year-end review– Perform a year-end review, looking at every expense, sale, and goal you set on a month-by-month basis. What did you do right, and what did you do wrong? Use this information to plan out the following year. Spontaneity can lead to inspiration, but planning as much as you can now gives you a roadmap and end goal.
- New Year’s Resolutions– At the beginning of Q4 write down your personal and business-related New Year’s Resolutions. Focus on what you wrote in your year-end review, and the goal(s) you came up with from that data. Create resolutions you can follow through on, and stay motivated with.
Interested in reading more, look at this blog, Rules to live by