Time to make a list and check it twice?
Well, yes, sort of. But instead of a list to see who’s been naughty or nice, let me suggest that an end-of-the-year checklist might be a better use of your entrepreneurial efforts. Specifically, there are five year-end tasks that you can do now to help you start 2023 off right.
1. Conduct a 2022 “Year in Review”
In all likelihood, you had some specific goals for this year. Did you accomplish them? If so, how? And if not, why not?” Be honest—but not too tough on yourself!
The key is to evaluate 2022 based on your definition of success. Did you meet—or come close to meeting—your financial target? Did you improve one of your products or services? Did you develop a strategic partnership? Did you realign your work schedule so you could spend more time with your family, or to just have more balance between your business and personal life?
Evaluate all aspects of your business to identify successes and shortcomings. Make a list of your achievements. Most importantly, evaluate what worked, and what didn’t, and then decide what you and your team can do to improve in those areas.
2. Examine Your Finances
Take a good look at your financials.
Here’s what a small business checklist for finances might look like:
- Are your accounts receivables up to date?
- What about your accounts payable? Wrapping up the year with a clean balance sheet is smart.
It is also wise to evaluate your pricing. After all, you’re in business to make money. If you’re making too little for your time and effort, you should consider whether you can increase your prices.
- Are you charging too much?
- How do you compare to your competition?
- Is it time to make some adjustments?
3. Set SMART goals for 2023
Now that you know where you’ve been, you can plan for where you’re going. Set your goals for 2023.
Start by writing them down. The simple act of writing down your plan and goals increases your chances of success.
The best goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Write your goals down and develop a plan to achieve them. Be sure to cover all aspects of your business, including product line, marketing, finances, and technology tools. The key is to create realistic goals that stretch your business, and then chunk them down into doable steps.
4. Invest in yourself and your employees
Successful businesses, large and small alike, are made up of great teams. And one of the things those teams have in common is that they “fill gaps.” For instance, your team might be great at sales but lousy at accounting. So, identify the gaps your team has and then fill them by bringing in new people, learning the skills needed or finding tools that help you fill the gaps.
It’s easy to get stale and keep doing things the same way because “That’s how we’ve always done it.” Instead, invest in yourself and your people. Your team will appreciate extra training and tools that make them even more skilled and valuable. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish this such as the online classes provided by organizations like Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera. You can also look to apps to help fill in the gaps. The Index app from Pinger lets you manage customer communication with text. So your customers get more timely responses, and you get more time to focus on other areas of your business or life.
If you prefer offline learning, read one or more of the top books for small business owners and give your team your favorite one as a gift to fuel their growth as well.
5. Give yourself a break (literally and figuratively)
If you’re like many small business owners, you work hard—perhaps too hard. If you allow your business to take over your life, you run the risk of serious burnout. So plan breaks and time off. Schedule your vacation now to increase the likelihood you’ll take the time to recharge and relax. If you are going to be your own boss, be a caring one and extend that kindness to yourself!
These last few years have been especially hard for small businesses. You’ve been through a lot. Acknowledge the fact that you’ve come a long way and celebrate your wins.
So good job! Congratulations. And, of course, have a great New Year.