In a few short days, 2012 will come to a close. Amid the holiday cheer and madness, maybe do a little reflecting. While it is not always fun it is crucial for success. Throughout the year, review of individual objectives is done but at the end of the year is when a long hard and honest look at things is needed. This reflection sets the tone for the new and successful new year.
With that, here are 5 things to do before the New Year.
Typically, this is not the first time this year that your team has heard Thanks, however this may be the one that sticks with them the most. Thanking them for going that extra mile, believing in the company and being an integral part of moving the business forward can be done in so many ways. Year-end bonuses, holiday gathering, gifts, and even a heartfelt Thank you can be done singularly or in combination based on what works for your team. While you are at it, review staffing. You've probably been running pretty lean all year, is it time that you change that? Were you or a member of your team wearing multiple hats? Admittedly this can be a little hard. If you have double the business next year then the answer is easy. However, if you things are a little less black-and-white, this decision requires a bit of a balancing act. Most importantly, make sure your core team is in place and locked down. Supplementing can be done later. Balancing the workload could be the best "thank you" yet to your team.
A no-brainer! Without customers you have no company. It's important that they know you appreciate that they came to YOU. There are thousands of companies out there to choose from, yet they chose your company. While you are at it, ask them for feedback. Look for ways to provide better service to keep them coming back and maybe even bring a few friends along.
Take an honest look at the products and services you are providing. This may be harder than you think. Are there offerings that are not producing profit, not just revenue but - profit? Are there offerings that are labors of love or nostalgic and are no longer aligned to the business goals? Are you missing opportunities to expand on your offerings? This last one sometimes sneaks up on you. Reviewing client feedback can provide insight into offerings you may not have considered before. Take out that red pen, use your editor's eye and edit away.
Every now and again, even the most spectacular kitchen needs a new coat of paint. The same goes for your branding. Take a look at your logo, could it use a tweak or two? Are you using your brand effectively? Like your product and service offering review, use a critical eye when reviewing your marketing, are you seeing the returns you'd planned for? If not, look at whether more data or a different direction is needed to reach your goals.
This is probably where there are the most growing pains. The way things worked in the beginning, earlier this year or even last month, may not be working right now. Are there any gaps? Are there any areas of improvement? This is a bit of a trick question. As things change, things change, so improvement is ongoing. Are you using the right technology for the right tasks? As one with a huge fascination with technology, this question trips me up - sometimes. I am lucky to have a team that reins me back in when I get carried away exploring all that is available. I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing what's right for YOU not everyone else. The last part of the internal workings review is to do some math. When you look at your finances, 2+2 should equal 4, and if it doesn't you have a couple of months to figure it out before dear Uncle Sam comes calling.
There is one, let's call it extra credit task…
Since you've just spent all of this time reviewing and analyzing your company, why not update your business plan.
That's it. Gotta run, got some work to do.