A look at a few areas for your business to review in closing 2018 and preparing for 2019
As we enter the final weeks of 2018, it’s easy to get swept into the hustle and bustle of the holidays and overlook the importance of year-end activities. In addition to closing the books, running year-end financial reports and reviewing contracts and team performance, there are important steps necessary to properly prepare your business for the new year. Here are a few key end-of-the-year actions to take in order to ensure a fresh and secure start to 2019.
- Sales – Find time to review last year’s sales plan (and even the year prior) to create accurate sales goals for the coming year. Additionally, assess how effective your sales process has been over the year, and make adjustments as necessary. Determine and develop ways to prequalify prospects, offer upgrades to existing clients and resell to former clients where engagement is needed. Confirm and secure any services and valuable sources you have for lead generation (such as HBWeekly) to ensure that you will continue to receive fresh contacts to add to your CRM system.
- Marketing – Just as with sales, you should have already started to assess the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and efforts from this year. What was most effective, and which campaigns received the strongest response? Make sure to incorporate the lessons learned into a new and improved marketing strategy for next year.
- Set Goals – Review last year’s revenue goals and use them to establish realistic new goals. While reviewing them every quarter should be standard practice to see how you are tracking toward them, the end of the year provides a long-range perspective that enables you to see if last year’s goals were attainable and what adjustments need to be made to facilitate growth.
- Employees – Along with showing appreciation for your employees through bonuses, holiday gifts and celebrations, you should expect to execute performance reviews now through January; it provides a perfect opportunity to reflect and reward successes as well as recognize opportunities for development. The results will define your training and hiring needs in the coming year.
- Audit Your Website – Just like any other part of your business, your website requires review and maintenance. Review your content, links and overall appearance to ensure that information is up-to-date and that the design and links are current and active. Sometimes an action as simple as updating images or a header can make a difference. And when it comes to SEO, run a few tests to see how visible your website is on search engines and determine what you can change to boost your listing.
- Update Your Vendors – Just as you should be taking inventory of your products, now is good time to review your vendors. In addition to verifying and confirming the information you have on file for current vendors and suppliers, review the rates you are paying and run comparisons to see if other vendors are offering better or more competitive pricing for the same services/products. After all, your “Cost of Goods Sold” is one major contributing factor to the financial health of your business, and you have the ability to negotiate with current vendors or develop relationships and agreements with new ones.
- Back up EVERYTHING – Even though you most likely have a daily or weekly back-up system in place, you should still run a separate year-end backup. Beyond your accounting systems and reports, you should back up all files, computers, phones and calendars to a separate back up drive and potentially a cloud system. Whatever method you choose, make sure it is secure and that you have a minimum of two separate locations for the backed up files.
As 2018 comes to a close, you can make the most of you and your team’s hard work through a few simple efforts; by reviewing sales and marketing strengths/weaknesses and assessing goals and team performance, you can apply the lessons of last year to make the coming year truly successful.
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