When you think of the end of the year, what do you think of? Most small business owners think of taxes. It’s actually a good time to analyze and to also step into the new year productively and profitably. To get a jump start, use this small business year end checklist.
At Excellerate Success Institute, my clients not only use the expanded version of this small business year end checklist, they use their own Business Blueprint complete with identified metrics to measure their plan throughout the year making their year-end review a snap.
A business blueprint acts like a map so you can see where you are and where you need to go consistently aligning all areas of your business, including your external marketing as well as your internal operational systems.
For example, a part of my Business Blueprint is a list of the referrals I’ve given. It makes it easy to follow up with my Referral Partners to determine what referrals resulted in closed business and what didn’t so I can do a better job at pre-qualifying them. It also helps me to track how many referrals I’m getting in return.
If you don’t have a Business Blueprint, consider creating one and adding some of these items to your small business year end checklist:
1. Send a thank you note to your clients. Stand out from the crowd this year. Instead of sending your ordinary holiday greeting to your clients, send a thank you note for being a loyal customer or client. SendOutCards makes it easy to include a gift card, like a coffee to Tim Horton’s or Starbucks.
2. Get your prosperity systems in order. If you don’t have a handle on your prosperity systems, get the financial help you need so you can make informed decisions and choices in planning for the new year. Examine your balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statements to see the changes you need to make in your business to make next year even more profitable. Your prosperity systems involve more than just accounting, it also may involve setting up a system for to measure results and to improve efficiencies with your sales team.
3. Strategically plan your business goals. Now that you know how your business performed, it’s time to look at how you got there. Did you accomplish what you set out to? Identify the reasons for the success or where you fell short. Make notes on your successes or identify the support you need to reach your goals for next year. This assessment will come in handy when you conduct your business planning for the upcoming year.
4. Follow Up or Follow Through. You may have left business hanging out there. Identify the contacts you’ve made and make a list of items you need to follow up on.
5. Refine your Branding. Keep things fresh by updating your branding materials. You need to be exact to attract your ideal clients. Make sure that your clients/customers know exactly who you work with by reviewing whether or not your messages match your market.
6. Set up your marketing systems. If you find yourself saying, “I wish I had a sales person who could work 24/7,” you may need to implement an automatic lead generation system. Setting up your marketing systems gives you leverage so you can focus on the revenue-generating part of your business. Examine other internal systems and processes you need to implement next year to help leverage your time, energy and resources.
7. Plan for your personal development for next year. Whenever I invest in my own personal development, it pays off a hundred fold. Plan to grow your business by investing in you. Identify the training or resources you need to take your business to new levels next year whether it is a specific program or mentor. Investing in yourself is the greatest form of leverage. It changes the way you look at growing your business.
The old saying is true: businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail. With the distraction of daily events, it’s easy to put off business planning. Use this simple small business year end checklist to determine how you did and to powerfully step into next year.