As the year comes to an end and the days get shorter, we enter a period of rest and reflection in our lives and businesses. The holidays bring opportunities to express gratitude, sentimentality, and joy for the things we achieved throughout the year. And, for small business owners, hopefully a chance to recover from the Black Friday and Christmas retail season.
In order to avoid burnout and fill your motivational cup, so to speak, it’s important to end the year with a deep, thorough review of your business. This will help you figure out what’s been working, what hasn’t, and start the year motivated to accomplish more. Learning and growing is part of the journey, after all. Check out these 6 tips to finish the year strong, and you might actually end up uncovering some hidden reasons to celebrate!
Have A Q4 Meeting With Yourself
Quarterly meetings are used by larger companies to measure performance and figure out ways to optimize and improve their operations. While your small business may not be in the habit of doing these throughout the year, it pays to end the year with a Q4 meeting, at least with yourself. But what exactly does that mean?
Most companies start a quarterly meeting with a list of goals that were set at the beginning of the quarter, and evaluate how that went. So start by thinking back to what your current goals are, and/or what your goals of the year were. Did you want to expand your product offerings? Gain new clients in specific fields? Chances are you have a small notion of what you wanted to accomplish most in the year.
Then, start your Q4 by making an honest assessment of whether you have achieved those goals. If the answer is no, was progress made? Did you discover something along the way that made you abandon the goal? The key part of this is just to think about how the year went down. No need to be upset if you didn’t achieve everything.
Next, create a Q1 for yourself for the next year. What goals weren’t achieved last year that you’re carrying into next year? If you are able to check some of last year’s goals off your list, think about the next thing you want to accomplish. Identify what milestones are important to you and determine what’s highest and lowest priority. This process will give you amazing insight into how your business is doing, and where you want to head next.
Run Your Financial Reports
End of year is a crucial time to run all your financial reports. If you’re at a loss as to which ones are the most important, check out our article on the top financial reports for your small business. Running your finances will allow you to get a solid overview of your small business finances, and will also get you prepped for the tax season. If you’re unsure of where to start, consider reaching out to a professional bookkeeping service like KGC Consulting.
Update Your Vendor List and Send Out Cards
Chances are you made some new connections and got some new business contacts this year. Or you did business with your favorite vendor for the 3rd year in a row now. Or you had some poor experiences with vendors and decided to drop them.
Whatever the case, take the time at the end of the year to update your vendor and supplier lists. As mentioned, you want to go into the year strong with accurate, up to date information so that you can effectively and accurately pursue new opportunities for your business to grow.
And if you particularly value certain vendors, it never hurts to send them a nice holiday thank you card or letter. While this may seem trivial, businesses are built on the backs of relationships- and small gestures like this speak volumes about how much you value and appreciate them. A good vendor relationship keeps the channels of communication open; you never know when you might want to work with them again.
Make Sure You’re Set On Taxes
Hopefully you already have a great system in place that allows you to save for any upcoming tax expenses for your business. If that’s not the case, however, the end of year is a great time to make sure you won’t fall short when the tax deadline comes. Should you find yourself short on covering expenses, the holidays are a very profitable time, so knowing your financial state will allow you to adjust your sales goals and set you up for success.
Plan for January
The holidays are a frenzied, busy time for stores, and come January, everything quiets down almost overnight. Many businesses count on this ebb and flow and leave their planning for the year to the last couple months of January. We recommend against doing that, however, and suggest that you plan for January and beyond, before the holidays hit. Why’s that?
The holidays suck up our time and energy. After Christmas we end up diving right into Valentine’s Day, Easter, Spring, and Mother’s Day, all which are big commercial holidays that are opportunities to sell or provide services. But if we put off planning for all this until the new year, it’s easy to feel like you’re starting the year wallowing in mud. And that sets the wrong tone for accomplishing your goals.
Set yourself up for success by being future oriented and getting used to planning further out. Things may change along the way, and that’s ok- you will be equipped to handle it because you’ve already thought it through.
Celebrate Your Victories
We’re big on finding reasons to celebrate. Being proud of and acknowledging your and your small business’s accomplishments is powerful fuel. If you have partners, employees, or co-workers that have been part of your successes, celebrate with them! Even something like buying everyone a round of drinks to toast to accomplishing a year’s goal marks a moment in time. Having our work and successes recognized helps us feel good and keeps us motivated. And it keeps up team morale. So take the time to pause and say, awesome, yes, I did it! Go me! And then get back to work.
Being a small business owner involves a lot of work, but we think the freedom and joy of being your own boss makes it all worth it. As long as you are reflecting on your business, and making small, incremental changes whenever you can, you will be on your way to success. We hope you finish your small business years as the strongest one yet!
Feeling like you could use some help with your small business’s finances? Shoot a message to one of our amazing professional bookkeepers at KGC Consulting today for a free consultation.