Closing a Year and Starting Another:
A Reflective Approach to Business Planning

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I am not sure about you, but December and January can be a very stressful time for a business owner.  It’s a time when we are forced to truly analyze our business, determine if we are doing bonuses, start planning for the next year and yes, doing all of this with a positive holiday disposition.   So, in this blog and my following two, I am going to share some of my secrets and strategies to make this process efficient, accurate, and predictable to help guide you towards a successful new year!

Part 1 in a 3-part series: The Year End

Looking at your numbers

Every month I pull at least a profit and loss report on my QuickBooks. At the end of the year, it is imperative to not just look at the month of December but to stop and evaluate the entire year.  Pull a snapshot report and look at trends.

These are some that I follow religiously: Income and Expense trend, Previous Year Income Comparison, Previous Year Expense Comparison and Expense Breakdown.  They are simple to read and will provide you with a greater understanding of how your business is doing.

Did you make your goals?  Did people stay within their budget?  Go back and look at your year’s strategy and see how things truly played out.  Make sure your team is pulling reports for you and hold them accountable to them.  I encourage my clients to do this routinely throughout the year, but if that isn’t possible, this is the time to follow up.

Looking at your team.

We do annual reviews for each employee and this is done on the start date of their employment anniversary.  So, at the end of the year my main assessment is did we make our bonus goal and who gets how much.  This is all based on figures I calculated at the beginning of the year and their portion is determined by their performance throughout the year that help us make the goal.

If we didn’t make it…I need to decide whether they get a “holiday bonus” or not and how much.  Now, we have had some amazingly productive years and some that we just made the mark; regardless, I feel that my team has always done their part to help the practice grow so I give holiday bonuses.  No matter how bad the year is and how much pressure you feel under, December is not the time to cheap out.  Make it special in some way, if not with money then with a special event to celebrate everyone’s hard work!   If you are having a hard time awarding a member in your team maybe that’s a sign that they shouldn’t be with you any longer.

Commit time to review.

Every December, I go on a date with my QuickBooks program to a coffee shop to do exactly what I just wrote out.  While finding the time to do this around the holidays may not be easy, the peace of mind of having clarity of your business finances is priceless and an absolute necessity for success.

Be on the watch for my follow-up blogs these next two #FunFridays to complete this series!  Happy holidays and best wishes to you, my colleagues!