The end of the financial year is fast approaching, and for business owners, much of our time is firmly focused on completing must-do processes imposed by financial and tax deadlines.
This is the time of year when business owners see schedules filling up with desk time and meetings are less than inspiring to balance the books. It’s also that time of year when we need to focus our attention on the fundamentals that underpin sustainable business performance. But since we are short on time, it is this working on the business that often plays second fiddle to our push for business tasks.
So how do we emerge from another challenging year, overcome fatigue and lack of time, and prepare for success and impact in the year ahead? The good news is that there are a few simple and practical things business owners can do to set sail into the new year instead of strolling.
How to position your company successfully in the new fiscal year
Time is arguably a business owner’s most valuable asset. Not surprisingly, looking in the rearview mirror is often considered a luxury and looking ahead is a snap. But quality matters more than quantity when it comes to working on your business.
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By taking a few hours before June 30th, you can recognize your achievements and lay a solid foundation for your business to grow.
Bask in the year that was
First things first: With your undivided attention, answer a few questions about (almost) the past year.
What goals have you set for your company this year? What have you achieved? What are you proud of? What did you learn? Where did you fall short? What was in the way? Which opportunities remain unused?
It’s your own opportunity to celebrate your business successes and provide an overview of what can and must happen next.
Take stock of your strategy
With clues that you have gained from looking back, you can imagine what success will look like for your next financial year. Get your laptop (or pen and paper) ready again because now is the time to build on your strategy and make sure it serves your goals for the next 12 months.
Imagine your business at this time next year. What will you see, hear and feel when you have achieved your vision for success at this stage? Ask yourself lots of open-ended questions (who, what, where, why, when) to find out what’s possible. Put your answers into words so you can see tangibly what success will look like and plan to make it happen.
What strategic goals have you set for yourself over the past year? Which of these remain relevant and which can be left behind and replaced by new goals? Now write down three to five goals that you will commit to so that you can achieve the vision you have designed for your company.
Plan delivery and deliver according to plan
Congratulations! If you’ve put in the time to get to this point, you’re almost there, but don’t overlook this final, most important step. Goals are nothing without a plan to achieve them.
What do you need to do to turn your strategic vision into action and turn your goals into results in the coming year?
This step is both about documenting your actions and determining the steps you will take to devote time to implementing your plan. This is important because all business owners know that it’s very easy to get sucked into the day-to-day grind of running a business while taking your eyes off how you are pursuing your long-term vision.
For each of your business goals, ask yourself what actions need to be taken to achieve that goal. Then think about what you (and your team, if any) might need to stop, start, or continue to focus on the things that will make the biggest impact. Now you also have the opportunity to prioritize your actions and determine what you could achieve as “quick wins”.
Finally, open your journal and schedule time to make progress towards your goals. Seeing progress is the best way to motivate further progress. So, take your time each week and commit to planning your overall progress at least once a quarter. Also, decide where you’re going to do this so you can make sure you can get your head in the strategy space and avoid becoming uninterrupted.
Now you can get started!
Take less than a day in your business to complete these three simple steps, and you will gain a tremendous amount of clarity, direction, and energy to move your business forward.
You’re ready to start the new year with a plan and renewed commitment to unlock the endless possibilities for your business. Pat the back and get going (don’t forget the tax)!