2022 had the world trying to restore any sense balance that was disrupted by the onslaught of Covid-19. Businesses were faced with very few options: adapt or perish. As a small or medium business—with very limited survival arsenal compared to business giants—you have had to run countless marathons throughout the year to give your business a fighting chance.
With every hoop jumped, it is no wonder why the end of the year comes as a breath of fresh air for businesses. Such a time signifies a massive victory for managing to make it through the year and surviving all of its punches.
While it is essential to celebrate all wins, it is equally crucial that end of year celebrations for businesses be met with thorough preparations for the new year to ensure that they make it through yet another year.
With a celebratory yet ‘ready-to-conquer attitude in mind, this article will explore some tips and tricks to aid small and medium businesses in getting ahead of the new year. While there exists a myriad of activities your business can take on to prepare for a successful year, this article will focus on the following 5 tips:
- Creating new goals
- New financial plan for the new year
- Reviewing customer relationships
- Planning ahead
In gearing up for the new year, a good place to begin with preparations is by studying the preceding year. It is time to travel back to the beginning of 2022 to place all that your business has been through under a microscope. The point of reflecting on the year is to gage all the successes and losses the business encountered to determine all the areas that need to be whipped into shape.
How to go about reflecting
David Bell describes this task as ‘crucial to moving forward towards the future. Reflecting, to some, may seem like a tedious task. Perhaps you have no idea how to go about reflecting in a purposeful manner.
One way to go about it is to use the ‘What? So what? What now?’ approach. The point of this approach is to identify events you would want to or could learn from, followed by dissecting the reasoning behind the need to learn from such events and then constructing a plan of action —based on this reflecting—for the future.
Reflection stands in perfect relationship with the adage: “work smarter, not harder.” As per the Harvard Business Review, it aids in improving job performance by ensuring that businesses take a break from blindly following objectives without real thought on where they are coming from. It helps them in understanding how they could polish their already traveled paths to ensure less turbulence en route to reaching their goals.
Create New Goals
No small or medium-sized business should aim to remain that way. That means that with every passing year, new goals should be set that will contribute to the financial and structural growth of the business.
To establish new goals, go back to your business’ reflections and see what your business was able to achieve and the timeline it was able to achieve it all in. From there, determine any short-term and long-term goals that your will will actively work on in the coming year. Set yourself a timeline as to when you would like to see these goals come to life.
When setting your goals ensure that they will not disadvantage your business more than they will contribute positively into it. Ensure that they pour into the growth of your business.
Draw Up A Financial Plan for the New Year
A well planned and documented financial plan is an essential element of any business. This is one of the most effective ways of tracking the business’ income and expenses and ensuring that the business does not bite off more than it can chew in terms of financial commitments.
A savvy financial plan allows your business to assess risks in the market and build a risk tolerance strategy that will help keep your business afloat in tough financial situations. Where inflation threatens the stability of many small or medium-sized businesses, your business could survive such uncertainties because of the implementation of a well thought out financial plan.
Financial planning includes maintaining an emergency fund, managing any debt the business may incur, planning in advance for any taxes that the business is obligated to pay and drawing up a flexible monthly budget.
Review and Revitalize Your Relationship With Your Customers
This might not be the first time you hear this and it will most definitely not be the last: customers carry the immense power of making or breaking your business. Without them, there is no way of building a lasting business.
This is the time to assess whether you treated your customers like royalty. You need to review whether any improvements can be made to keep customers excited and coming back to do business with you in the new year.
Your business can, for instance, institute a rewards programme — if it hasn’t already — to reward loyal customers and in turn keep them coming back to you. Your business can also ensure that customers’ voices are heard by allowing them to voice any concerns and feedback they might have to offer.
This is also the time to appreciate those customers who chose your business over others in the same industry. Sending them an appreciation email or letter can only do your business good. However your business chooses to show customer appreciation, ensure that it is done before the end of the year to send the message that they are not an afterthought.
It is detrimental to ignore the fact that the modern world is filled with uncertainties and unforeseen risks that may have the power to alter any sense of normality in a matter of seconds. If any lesson is to be taken away from Covid-19 is that tomorrow or three months from now might not look like today. Planning ahead saves your business from succumbing to the uncertainties of the future.
Tips for Planning Ahead
There are many ways to successfully plan ahead for the new year. As a business owner, you get to decide which methods you’re going to implement to help you in this endeavour. These are some tips that you can use to ensure that 2023 does not find your business unprepared:
- Prepare and schedule any social media posts, reports that may be due at the start of the year and ensure that all the business’ equipments work accordingly.
- Determine which tasks you might need to outsource and start assessing who they will be outsourced to.
- Purchase any stationery and resources that your business will need to get survive the start of the new year.
This is not an exhaustive list. It is also important to note that your planning should not be rigid and should make space for any uncertainties that may arise that may need you to alter your plans. Plan accordingly to your business’ goals and needs to get the most out of this activity.
Get Set, Ready, GO!
There are many reasons why your business should invest some time in getting ready for the new year and planning ahead for it. Each and every new year births endless possibilities that your small business can seize. A well prepared business puts itself in the position to fully take control of such opportunities. No matter how seemingly big or small your goals are, it is not too late to start planning for the new year to ensure continued success.
It is true that no business can ever be fully prepared for unforeseen risks and circumstances that may arise on any given day. However, it is such preparations that help to soften the blow of all these uncertainties
Revisit your new year strategy regularly and tweak it where necessary to adapt to the ever-changing world. Most importantly, commit your business to maintaining a strong and purpose-filled momentum for the new year.