End-of-year: how to prepare for the year ahead

By Mahmood Reza, CEO of accountancy firm Pro Active Resolutions

As we approach the end of another year, it is the perfect time for business owners to budget, plan and prepare for the year ahead. However, for some entrepreneurs this can be a stressful time, especially if they are unsure where to begin when it comes to future-gazing and planning for the next 12 months.  Mahmood Reza, CEO of accountancy firm Pro Active Resolutions, has some pointers to help set the path to success in 2022.

Define your goals

When it comes to setting new business goals, establish your ‘why’ – why you’ve set the goals you have, how you will achieve them and what you need to do to reach them. For example, most business owners will set growing their profits as a clear goal, in which case knowing and understanding your numbers is essential to achieving profitability. 

Once you have your ‘why’, it will drive your behaviour and as a result, drive your business’s growth, development and prosperity. It will also prepare you for dealing with difficult situations and people, which inevitably arise if you want your business to not only survive, but thrive. Numbers will also play a key part in this – to make your goals a reality, make sure that numbers are part of your business story and that you monitor them carefully to understand how your business is developing. 

Review your business plan

Planning is key not only when it comes to achieving your business goals, but also in preparing for any unforeseen circumstances or unpleasant surprises, which all businesses experience occasionally. If, by the end of the year, you find that you haven’t reviewed your plan for a little while, then make sure to do so this December. Ask yourself if you need to revise your goals, redefine your business’s vision or finetune the business’s objectives.

And of course, make sure that any changes you make are communicated to your partners and employees, so that you are all on the same page come the New Year. 

Evaluate your operations

Make sure to review your profits and losses to see exactly where you are – look at your key products and customers and see if you can identify any patterns. Did your business experience substantial growth or loss? When did this happen and why? 

Directly coupled with the profits and expenses of your business is your cash flow and your cash future.  Make sure you have an up-to-date cash flow forecast, review your KPIs, credit control – the whole business’s operations. 

Conduct performance evaluations

The end of the year is also a good time to conduct performance evaluations. Performance reviews should evaluate departments, employees, and the overall business. Have your business partners take part in the review process so that you can be aligned with any issues which may need addressing. When assessing the business’s performance it is essential that you are honest and always have the business’s interests as your focus. 

Get your team ready

When all evaluations and all the books are in order, conduct an end of year company meeting. This should show you how far you’ve come compared to the previous year, address any known issues within the company, and lay out a definitive plan. If there are hindrances within the business which will keep you from obtaining your goals, address them at your team meeting. 

Don’t forget about your mental wellbeing and get some rest

We all know that mental health matters – it’s something that affects all of us, throughout our lives. But the unique challenges of building and running your own business can take their toll and sometimes have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. Make sure that you have moments of calm in your life, as being able to re-charge and re-focus will help you make rational decisions for both you and your business. 

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