With 2023 just on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about ways to ensure a successful transition between this calendar year and the next. Even if your company’s tax year doesn’t end on December 31st, there are some proactive steps you can take now to ensure a smooth ending to 2022 and a strong start to the next year. Take a look at these ten tips and tasks to get your small or medium-sized business ready for the new year.
Focus on Your Financial Reports
It’s a good time to analyze your year-end financial reports, such as a year-end income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement, once they are completed at the end of the calendar year. Use this information to track your key performance indicators, assess your business’s annual performance, and consider whether your numbers are trending upwards or downwards and the reasons why. Then, use this to inform your business and financial plans for the upcoming year.
Settle Accounts and Assess Your Sales Cycle
Make sure to pay all of your payables before the year is over, and put in the effort to collect any outstanding receivables in order to keep your accounts in order. Having fewer open balances that have to be carried over to the next year is optimal. After settling and reconciling accounts, it would be beneficial to analyze the data and focus on two key metrics: the length of the sales cycle and the days sales outstanding (DSO). This means looking at how long it takes from providing an estimate, beginning the work, and sending an invoice to actually getting paid by the customer. Making adjustments to client contracts, such as requiring an upfront down payment, charging late fees, implementing a customer credit/underwriting policy, or offering a discount for early payment, may help improve DSO if it is longer than 30 days.
Tackle the Bottom of Your To-Do List
To start the new year off right, take the time to organize your files, reply to unanswered emails and clear out your inbox, clean up your desktop, and organize the rest of your paperwork and documents to tie up any loose ends. Take advantage of the end-of-year slowdown: use this time to tackle your to-do list, starting with those low-priority items that have kept getting pushed back as you prioritize more urgent tasks.
Celebrate Success and Learn From Failure
As the year ends, take time to recognize the successes of your business and the individuals who contributed to them. To show appreciation, consider planning a holiday or end-of-year office party. Equally, it is essential to identify mistakes from the previous year that indicate areas for improvement in your business. These failures should be seen as teaching moments, enabling the setting of better objectives for the coming year and the implementation of solutions to any issues within the company.
Set New Goals, Strategies, and Action Plans
Before the start of the new year, you should prepare a new annual budget, a set of goals, and an action plan on how to accomplish them. This will prevent you from having to rush to create a plan when business resumes in January.
Create a Marketing Schedule
You should create a rough outline the new your year’s marketing schedule, campaigns, and content, in addition to the business goals and strategies you’ve set. What are your plans to reach your customer base? Is there a time schedule for optimizing advertising campaigns? What will be the ROI of your advertising strategies?
Prepare Your Infrastructure for Growth
If you anticipate an increase in your business in the upcoming year, it is essential to think about the requirements that will be generated by that expansion. Consider hiring additional representatives to support your growing operations, allowing enough time for onboarding and training them, so they are ready to start working immediately.
Assess and Improve Employee Engagement
The current job market is creating a difficult situation for employers, as employee burnout, disengagement, and attrition rates are at an all-time high, despite low unemployment levels. This has made it difficult to replace lost employees or fill new positions. At the year’s end, it is important to assess employee turnover and retention rates and determine why those who left chose to do so. Additionally, gauge the happiness, satisfaction, and engagement of existing employees by talking to them and conducting in-house surveys. Take action immediately if you notice signs of employee burnout, dissatisfaction, or disengagement. Show your appreciation for your employees by reevaluating employee benefits, implementing a hybrid office, and creating better reward and recognition opportunities.
At the end of the year, it is important to prioritize taking time off to recharge and plan your vacation. This is vital for overall health and happiness, and planning the time off before the start of the year will help ensure that other obligations are taken into account.
Tap Into SMB Leadership and Management Resources
As a small or medium-sized business leader, it is important to commit to ongoing personal and professional development by honing business acumen, management abilities, and leadership skills. Utilize a range of resources, like books, podcasts, webinars, seminars, industry publications, conferences, networking, and even classes, and take the time to make this a priority.