As we step into the new year and endure the lull of post-Christmas blues, we bring with us the hope that the coming months will bring significant change to our lives. This hope typically takes the form of a new year’s resolution about a better diet or more exercise, but rarely lasts till spring. For businesses too, the new year is the perfect time to consider their approach and whether any changes will be necessary to stay ahead of the game.
Dusting off the business plan and taking a deeper look into your business goals or your financial health, the new year is a perfect time to layout your business’s approach for the coming months. Here we will look at some of the most important areas of review to get your business off to a flying start this year.
Consider cash flow management
Although the new year may not be the start of your financial year, it still remains a useful time to reflect on the 12 months gone by. The key to any successful business is paying close attention to your financial situation and taking advantage of any opportunity to improve your bottom line. For all business, reducing costs whilst maintaining standards is the holy grail of such improvements, and this should be a primary consideration for your new year review. This could, for example, take the form of a business audit to further examine your highest expenditures.
In addition to expenditure, considering your business’s sources of income should also be a key focus. In the past 12 months, what sales trends have you experienced? How are profit margins comparing to the previous year? What is your current revenue forecast? Despite the fact this point in time may not be the end of your financial period, setting out your finances at the start of the calendar year will only benefit your company as the months begin to progress.
Review employee development processes
The most expensive cost for any business is its employees. Rather than using your new year review to focus solely on your financial health, you could also take time to more deeply consider the development paths of your employees. Consider how your business invests in its staff. Does it train employees only for them to leave or do you have high attainment levels but low levels of training? Either scenario is poor for any business and taking time to review how you develop your employees should be a key focus for your new year business plan review.
If your focal point is the training of your employees, have you outlined their path for progression? Upskilling employees will foster loyalty, but has to have direct applications to the business’s output. On the other hand, is it your company culture which needs to be addressed to take steps towards better retention of skilled workers? Auditing your business is a great place to start to ensure there are no gaps in training or to reveal steps you can take towards improving company culture to be added to your business plan.
Lay out this year’s business goals
After looking into your finances and your employees, examining your business’s goals is the next step. Reflecting on the year passed, where do you want your business to be the next time you conduct this review the following year? This is highly dependent on your business’s industry, but producing a shortlist of the primary goals that you want to achieve is the best place to start. Whether this is improving customer relations, increasing sales or improving production efficiency, outlining clear and achievable goals in your business plan is a fantastic way to ensure a successful year. Are there any difficulties you experienced in the year gone by, which you can address more seriously in the new year? Are there any processes you could improve to help increase business efficiency? Taking a step back and outlining the processes which your business could improve in addition setting out achievable goals will result in a successful review for your business.
If you would like help with amending your business plan, get in touch today! Contact us online using the form on the right or call 01604 420 420.