The end of a year, or the beginning of a new year, is a perfect time for businesses to review their finances and strategies, and how they can improve processes ready to make next year a better year for the business. This can be said for limited companies, freelancers or contractors – reviewing a business strategy can be beneficial to both the health of your business and your personal goals and targets.
If you’re a small business or freelancer and have not been going for long, you will probably already have an initial strategy that you’ve used to get started, however it’s always a good idea to review this plan on a regular basis to ensure you’re sticking to targets and are on track to achieve them. Creating or reviewing a strategy for growth will help you refocus your business and help deliver the results that you originally had in mind. This can create a framework to work around when setting future goals and positive change.
Revisit your vision statement. There is no substitute for constantly reviewing your business plan. Old and new companies should be continually looking at how to improve and grow their business, keeping in line with yearly targets and business objectives along with core values.
Check your budget
Forecasting and budgeting play a big part in how successful a business can be. By budgeting correctly and making the most of resources available, you can smash your targets! Check whether your current strategy is still suitable for your operating conditions. Calculate whether there is room for over achievement if your strategy is fulfilled and where that money is going when it comes though.
Have there been changes to your business competition since your last strategy review? Will these changes have an impact on how your business performs? Has there been significant changes to the economics? If any of these events have happened it can be a trigger for your business needing to steer in a slightly different direction. Keep an ear to the ground for local and global changes and if these are flagged to your attention, always go back to the drawing board and incorporate these changes into your plans.
With Making Tax Digital and the need for accounting to be online, it’s time to ensure that you have the digital means to bring your business in line with government requirements. This may have a financial impact on the business if systems or procedures, or even training needs to be put into place.
GDPR implications will fall into this category, ensure that with digital changes and policies, you are keeping in line with data protection.
Identify business objectives
Identify crucial factors in your business and identify what contributed to meeting or missing a target. Gather all the information possible to clearly understand what has been achieved this year and what objectives need looking at in the near future. By gathering information, new goals and objectives will emerge allowing your business to focus on growth and bigger ambitions.
Business performance management
Are you managing the performance of your business? Identifying how and why certain plans work can help improve other’s that may not be working as well. Measure and align business activities to the vision and values of the business, and against communications and performance to see how to push the business forward.
Sometimes it’s the little things that have a big impact on your business success and by looking at overheads and establishing some cutbacks can often be a saving grace to company profits. Look at utility bills and insurance costs, rent payments and petty expenses. Which of these can be changed to cut down costs, leaving more room for profits?
Have an action plan
As with anything, having a plan of action to go through your business review is a step forward. Keep a journal with everything as it happens and as you think about ideas. These may not come to mind when you start your planning but being able to call on them will be helpful.
Speak with a professional advisor to guide you through the steps that may need to be addressed. If you are managing a team, get feedback. It can be good to include them in the thought process of business reviews and gaining their input along with their responsibility and accountability. Keep your plan open and flexible allowing new information or challenges to be added, or omitted, where necessary.
No plan is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Be open to change and to adjustments, and be ready to incorporate new ideas and goals into your plans. If you’d like advice from an accountant who can help with strategic business planning, forecasting and budgeting we’d be happy to help. Feel free to get in touch for an initial chat.