At this stage of the year, our bet is ‘no’. Don’t worry though, you’re not the only one!! By November it tends to only be the really super-efficient business owners who have already planned their next year out in detail. You know, the business coaches and go-getters of the world who leave us all wondering if they have a secret time travel device that gives them extra time in the day. Like their own personal TARDIS (complete with a dishy Doctor to work the controls, of course). So, no need to panic, you’re not really behind – yet.
Saying that, now is the time you need to start thinking about it, even if it’s just a mulling around ideas over a glass of wine kind of thinking. Many business owners don’t bother to review their progress or to plan their next calendar year, but in reality it’s the most important thing you could do in your business! So let us prod your brain into action a little bit with a few things to think about.
Supporting Your Personal Goals
Most business owners started their business to support their personal goals and dreams. To be free of the 9-5 desk job, and instead run their own lives in every possible way. The thing they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t happen right away. It can take some time and some planning to reach the stage where your business is supporting your personal goals. This is the perfect time of year to think about what your personal goals are, and what revenue you need your business to generate in order to support those goals. If the revenue isn’t quite there yet, then you can look at what needs to change operationally to help you achieve your goals. This can often form the basis of your annual plan.
Where You Are Vs Where You Want To Be
You can’t start planning the future without looking back at where you’ve come from. So the first thing you should do is make yourself a cup of coffee, sit down and take a good look back at the last year.
What went well? What do you wish had gone better? And what was an utter catastrophe? Can you pinpoint some areas of your business that need improvement, maybe even with some quick wins in there? If you could go back in time to some of your decisions in the past year knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? This might seem like an exercise in self-flagellation (especially if you’re the type to focus on the negatives), but it will help you identify any gaps in your business.
We’re giving this next sentence its own paragraph, because frankly it’s really, really important. When you’re planning and evaluating your progress you need to be honest with yourself. If you’re not completely honest about your business, your performance and your capabilities, you’re not doing yourself any favours, and ignoring the situation won’t make the next year any better. Learn from your mistakes and successes (you will have them and once identified should do them consistently), and make sure the next year will be better.
Speaking of the next year, you should also ask yourself where you want your business to go. What do you want to achieve in the short term, in the long term and in the even longer-term? We know this blog is about planning for 2020, but really, it’s also about planning for your business in general. Identify exactly where you want to take your business, and use any gaps to start building your very own yellow brick road to get there.
And of course, we couldn’t talk about planning for the new year without mentioning financial planning. A big part of achieving your goals, whatever they are, is making sure you have the cash flow to support them. This might mean you need to sit down with your accountant or your bookkeeper and go over the business finances, identify where you can grow your profits. This might also help you understand which of your products or services are actually the most popular and achieving the profit margin you expected, and guide your focus in the planning. So, while it might not be your idea of fun, we promise it will be worth it!
The Boring Finance Bit
Of course, there are also some less exciting things you need to plan for. Things that, while they won’t take your business in new and exciting directions, they will keep you on the straight and narrow and make sure your business doesn’t get into trouble. Most of these things tend to be tax-related, so it’s time to get your numbers hat on. Take a look at your turnover for the past year and see if you’re approaching the VAT threshold, or if you foresee yourself reaching it in the next 12 months. If you are, then you need a note in your diary to get registered, sharpish! If you’re self-employed then January means you will need to complete your self-assessment tax return – something a lot of business owners dread and struggle to do on time. Tax planning is a whole other topic, and one we will talk about in the future in its own blog.
If you’re not sure how to do any of that, or it all sounds a bit scary, you can relax! You don’t have to do it alone.
At Safe Hands Bookkeeping we’re not your average bookkeepers. We don’t just want your business to plod along as it is – we want it to grow. And not just grow a little – grow big! We want your business to reach all of those goals you set, and then smash past them. But very few businesses get to that level of success on their own – they need a bit of a leg up along the way. That’s where our business growth support service comes in. We work with business owners to help them tackle the burden of planning, and work through what they want to achieve and how to achieve it for the next year. If you want to know more about how we can help, just get in touch with us today.
You can call us on 01252 763123or you can message us here.