Four Things Business Owners Can Do Now for a Great End of Year
We are in December! You and your employees, if you have any, are wrapping up the year. They are scrambling to take the rest of their vacation or personal time off so they don’t lose it. The approaching holiday season, and New Year, symbolize the common adage “out with the old and in with the new,” and it also means your company’s fourth-quarter is coming to an end. So, what can you do now to make your end-of-year actions positive and realistic for your small business?
Review this year’s business plan or any other documentation listing your small business goals. Do a thorough assessment of what was planned for your business this year.
- Are you on track to reach or surpass them by year’s end?
- Determine why or why not by figuring out any crucial steps that brought your business to its current standing. Strengthen any weaknesses in your current strategy and re-write how you plan to overcome this misstep next year.
Setting and accomplishing goals is an integral part of maintaining a successful small business. If you believe the end-of-year goals you created were overwhelming, set smaller attainable goals that are feasible. Every victory should be celebrated, regardless of how small the goal is.
- Motivate Employees
By now, you should know if you will be meeting your goals – so should your employees, especially the sales team. They are either ecstatic visualizing a bonus if goals are met or surpassed, or they are already disappointed about not making the markers that were set for them. It’s easy to deal with ecstasy, but sad employees during the holidays need a boost. There are little things that can turn your year around so speak with them about how to make the best of the year and finish strong even when you’re behind the goal.
- Turn them into collections officers and have them make calls to clients who owe you money. Getting even 50% of what is outstanding adds to your bottom line.
- Some clients have the extra money in their budgets at year-end. They are also in a “use it or lose it” scenario. Ask them if they would like to pre-pay for already-planned activities so they don’t lose that funding. Corporations do not like to do this, but many departments do. This is a great way to secure revenue for the first quarter, as well as ensure you continue to do business with that client.
If your team doesn’t get re-energized, you just might finish this quarter, and year, with poor sales plus fall short on your revenue goals for the first quarter of the coming year. The lack of confidence will carry over and that’s not a good way to start the year.
- Create Accountable Employees
Inc. Magazine’s 2009 article, Howard Greenfield shared how Managing partner Doug Hall from Dallas-based company, Financial Additions, motivates his employees:
“Everyone has to list the 3 things they are most proud of, and 3 ‘do-overs.’ We also ask for the one thing they are going to do differently and one thing the company could do differently. We then set goals, handwrite them and sign the handwritten statement, and put the handwritten notes in a box (time capsule) in the conference room. Monthly, we pull out this handwritten list, pass it out and remind everyone of their own personal commitments in their own handwriting. The goals are posted in a more formal outline the office for a view but there is something about handwritten commitments that make a difference.”
This is just one innovative idea on how employees can examine their goals and also remain accountable for failing to reach them. Discuss setting personal commitments that contribute to the success of the company with your team and how they plan to reach them next year. Consider creating incentives or rewards when a goal is accomplished.
- Re-Focus, Re-Energize
According to a recent Small Biz Trends article, 70% of small business owners do not see a holiday as a day off from work. I can understand that if especially if you are in retail and this is the opportunity to make money – either break even or go in the black. If you’re a part of the many small business owners who have a difficult time stepping away from the computer and Smartphone for a day or two, re-consider taking a vacation before the year’s end.
A vacation can help you re-focus and re-energize for the year ahead and de-stress from the past year. You’ll be able to tap into the inspiration behind your goals and gain the motivation to tackle any challenges your goals may bring when you return. Never underestimate the advantages of taking a well-needed vacation even if the year is almost over – your business can still benefit.
These four tips can change your, and your employees’, perspectives about your end-of-year goals. Review what worked, make plans to change what didn’t work, and take time off. You can get your head back into the game. For some business owners, this was their best year ever – congratulations if that is you! For others, they move into the coming year full of hope for a brighter 2022. For everyone, remember that your attitude determines your altitude. Here’s to a winning mindset and Happy Holidays!