Well, ready or not, here it comes—the end of the year! The last weeks of December and first weeks of January seem to bring with them a heavier burden—and not a little confusion—to many business leaders.
For some retail businesses, especially, this is "make-or-break" time—you're hiring extra help in sales, delivery, and customer service—and you hope they understand their jobs. Your challenge is to keep the vision alive, and to make certain that your staff feels secure and appreciated, and knows what you expect from them.
Whether the season brings record sales, or record slumps, is on your shoulders. You find yourself working longer hours, while sleeping fewer. You're skipping meals -- but if there's a plate that needs juggling, it's probably somewhere up over your head.
Stress is high. But excitement is in the air! Regret lingers about goals left unfulfilled. But resolutions flourish to do better in the New Year!
The end of the year is an ideal time for strategic review and renewal. This is also an excellent time to complete (or begin) your budget process for the next year, think about your marketing campaigns, and contemplate your personal goals.
Before the end of December, it's a good idea to:
- Set up a meeting with your accountant to review your earnings and projected profit, and explore tax-minimizing strategies. (Are there bills you can pay in advance of the year-end? Is there equipment youll need that could be purchased before the end of the year? Have you set aside all you are entitled to in tax-deferred programs?)
- Analyze which marketing campaigns were successful and why. Determine where crucial advertisement dollars might be better budgeted to attract your target market.
- Identify the business strategies that worked, and think about how you can incorporate those strategies across all aspects of your enterprise. Identify strategies that did not work, and plan ahead to make sure you dont repeat mistakes.
- Think about, and write down your goals - both business and personal - for the New Year. If you failed to achieve some of this years goals, think about what you could have done better. Determine how you can more successfully meet all of your goals for next year.
- Make a solid plan for the first week of 2006. Create a calendar or a to-do list for Monday, January 2nd through Friday, January 6th. Start that first week of the New Year with a clear commitment to change whatever needs changing!
- Before the end of the year, take the time to clear your mind, and look back objectively. Evaluate what you have learned from last years challenges so that you can turn them into next year's successes.
Lastly, if you've already found strategies to resolve any of these issues, or if you have developed other year-end rituals that have led to peace and not panic, please don't keep them to yourself. Share your wisdom with the Community.
This is, after all, the season of giving!