“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” (C.S. Lewis)
We all get a little crazy in December. Burnt out, over it, looking forward to holidays... And in the blur of the final end of year business and personal to-do lists, phone calls, emails, parties, holiday planning and the odd last-minute call for help or crises, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. But now is the perfect time to consolidate your learning from 2019 and make plans for 2020.
Here are 12 areas you can focus on to get set in your small business for 2020. (And then you can sign off!)
- Celebrate your achievements. Take time to be grateful for your year. Acknowledge your employees and / or the people around you who have contributed to your success.
- Identify your challenges. Conduct a SWOT of your business – what were your Strengths and Weaknesses (what you did well internally), how did you manage external Opportunities and Threats?
- Run financial reports. Look at your profit and loss (P&L) statement and your cash flow. Are you happy where your money was spent and do you have enough cash to take advantage of opportunities if they come along in 2020?
- Revise your business plan. Based on the results of your SWOT and P&L what needs to change in your business plan? Are your key assumptions, goals and metrics still valid? Has the market changed and does your focus need modification?
- Tidy-up your databases. Update addresses, phone numbers, and the names of your key contacts. Delete or archive contacts you don't use. Write a hit list of people you want to connect with in 2020.
- Update your operations manual. Your operations manual is not a 'set and forget' tool. Review your documented systems, processes, policies and procedures and make updates.
- Clear-out files and emails. Delete, re-arrange and organise your soft files and scan and shred paper files.
- Back up computers and mobile devices. Even if you use cloud-based software back everything up on a hard drive or external server.
- Review marketing collateral. Scan your website, socials and any other marketing materials. What needs updating, to be made redundant or refreshed? Set a goal, make a plan
- Stocktake. If you are a product-based business or have books or other goods for sale, undertake an inventory check to help you make decisions for 2020.
- Identify your resourcing needs. What did you suffer through this year that could have been done by an employee or external agency to make you more efficient? Are there opportunities in your budget to make changes in 2020? What is the opportunity cost of persisting with the current arrangements?
- Set your goals. What are your personal, professional, community and business goals for next year? Make your goals SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant, and time-bound.
If you are struggling to review and grow your business on your own talk to a business strategist, coach or join a group like Beyond Business Groups.
Don’t let the year slip by without taking stock of where you are now and taking time to set goals for 2020. Our memories can deceive us after the fog of a break. Without capturing information while it's fresh in our minds we run the risk of starting the year two steps behind. And who wants to play catch-up for the rest of the year?
How would you rate your 2019 and what are you excited for in 2020?