For many people, the holidays mean vacations. With kids out of school and many businesses winding down, people often head out of town for winter adventures or to visit extended family. For entrepreneurs, however, the holiday season is one of the busiest periods of the year, especially for retail business, both online and brick-and-mortar. Business owners stay busy preparing for holiday sales, which often bring in about 50 percent of the year’s revenues for many businesses.
Though you don’t want to miss out on the holiday fun, it’s important to devote some time to assessing your business performance and mapping out strategies for the future. Here are a few ideas that can help you wrap up the year and start 2017 off on the right foot.
Review the Year’s Performance
Reviewing your company’s performance for the past calendar year is essential before starting the new year. Check your results against the projections you made at the start of last year. If the numbers failed to measure up, note the gaps and find solutions. Review the performance of the sales department, considering sales volumes and revenues. Assess the performance of different products or services. Find out which of them accounted for the largest volume of sales and which marketing efforts generated the best results.
It’s also a good time to focus on employee productivity. Are your teams working cohesively? Are all members pulling their fair share? If not, consider rearranging employees and counseling them about goals for increased productivity.
Meet with your team and make a projection for the following year based on the current level of performance of the different sectors. Get input from each department on how to improve their respective areas. Collaborate on solutions. There will always be unforeseen events and variables. Prepare contingencies.
Prepare Next Year’s Budget
This is a great time of year to lay out next year’s operating budget. Make sure that there will be sufficient cash flow to accommodate your expenditures. Your current profit and loss statement, as well as your balance sheet, will help you in preparing the budget.
If you are planning for expansion—either in physical space, manpower, or in the introduction of new products or services, chart a course before the year ends, so you can start the new year running.
Technology can help you streamline processes and use your resources effectively. Keep your eye out for technologies that may be a good fit for your business. Though technology may be a big financial investment, if chosen wisely, it can go a long way in keeping your business current and competitive.
Start your preparations early in the season. When the holidays officially roll around, you’ll be able to enjoy time with your family, confident in your business plans for the coming year.