Review: Business Strategy
As we enter the final days of the year, you should be wrapping up your holiday shopping and plans, but you should also be reviewing your business strategy for the new year.
Whether your fiscal year ends in December or a different month, the end of the calendar year is a good time to take stock of how things went this year. The old saying “time flies” is particularly true for businesses. Business owners tend to be fixated on two to three month time periods, and as a result, they can fail to see developments over longer periods of time.
After you’ve taken care of all your holiday gift purchases, you should have some down time in the last two weeks of the month. Business tends to slow down as people deal with the holidays, travel to see family and so on. This is the perfect time to go back and consider the business year. Specifically, you should focus on where your business was in January. What were your goals at that time? Did you meet them during the year? If not, why? You will almost always be surprised when you realize how the business developed over the last year. This global view can give you a better perspective and evaluation of how things are going. Hopefully you’ve been tracking some business metrics and you can go back and take a look at those numbers to see how much they’ve changed.
If you have not been tracking metrics this year, take the time to find a good spreadsheet (or create one) for tracking your metrics. Not only is this a good end of year practice, you’ll find it handy for month to month as well. Need a template? Grab this low-priced template, delivered to you immediately:
Plan: Business Strategy
After reviewing this year, you should give consideration to what you want to accomplish and where you want to be by the end of next year. Ask yourself the following:
1. What is a reasonable revenue increase for the upcoming year?
2. Are there new products or services you should pursue?
3. Are there new products or services you should drop?
4. If a strategy is underperforming, does it make objective sense to continue pursuing it or cut your losses?
5. What are your biggest frustrations and how can you deal with them?
6. Who are your most valued employees and have you taken a moment to thank them?
7. Who are your least valued employees and what should you do about it?
8. Which vendors or suppliers do great work for you and which don’t?
Many other questions will run through your mind. There are no wrong ones. What is important, however, is you write the goals and thoughts down and keep them somewhere private. Next December, you should pull them out and see how things are going. Doing this consistently year after year will give you better insight to your business and help you determine ways to improve or make changes.