December is a hectic month for most business owners. The Thanksgiving holiday cut short the end of November and, in retail, started the huge push to put black on the bottom line for the year. December adds holiday parties, end of the month, and end of year in the last week without mention of Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, and football games.
December is also a good month to review your performance for the last year. A year end review can be a lengthy process or a quick overview of how your business did. It should be done in conjunction with laying out strategies for 2014 as well, which we’ll cover in next week’s blog. Brand Irons can assist you with year end reviews and 2014 strategies.
10 things to think about as you take a look at 2013:
- How much of an improvement, if any, does the bottom line show over 2012?
- How does cash flow look at year’s end?
- How did sales do in comparison to expectations?
- How has productivity been improved during the last 12 months?
- What has been the trend in consumer demand throughout the year?
- What have been the significant changes or innovations in the industry?
- What percentage of customers have you been able to retain?
- What areas have been identified where staff or employees may need more training?
- What does your profit margin look like?
- How well are you doing, personally, on your retirement goals?
The complexity of a year end review depends, primarily, on the size of the company and the diversity of the management team.
Most of the check-points listed here pertain to financial information, so it may be wise to schedule a meeting with your accountant to go over performance indicators. Other items, such as consumer demand, are related to market conditions and may require some research to identify existing trends as well as potential growth areas. Others are management- and personnel-oriented.
What is critically important, either in reviewing a year’s performance or strategizing for the next business cycle, is to know what metrics you want to measure. What is essential for the long-term sustainability of your business? What do you need to know? What else would you like to know? Having this in hand makes it easy to compare one year’s results to the following year and put a pinch of realism into budget projections.
Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand.