End of Year Planning

End of year planning

It’s that time of year when Christmas music is beginning to grate (yes, already!), when the silly season is verging on ridiculous, and when sun, sand, surf and Santa are far more appealing than business.
Many businesses (excluding retail) experience a real lull at this time of year. Often people ask why I don’t take an extended holiday in December and January – but this is often one of the busiest times of my year. Why? Because many businesses take advantage of the seasonal slow-down and use the time for review and planning. With fewer phones ringing, there’s space available for reflection and design. 
So for my last blog of the year, I thought I’d look at the types of activities that can be incredibly useful to help slingshot a business straight out of the holiday period and into a successful new year.
1. Look back down the mountain. As a business owner, I’m very guilty of this. I am constantly looking up at the next peak and wondering how I’m going to make it there, and failing to look back down and see how much I’ve achieved. Look back down the mountain and take a moment to enjoy the view. 
2. Do an honest review. What were your goals, aims or objectives for this year? How has your performance measured up? Remember, a year is a long time in business. You may have changed strategy; your business environment may have shifted; you may have refocused on a different target market. This is not a process to judge your performance, but to honestly appraise what happened during the year. Think through what worked, what didn’t work and what you would do differently if you had known then what you now know.
3. Create an end of year data snapshot. Your business metrics will be specific to you, but consider aspects including:
  • Total number of clients or customers
  • Number of new clients/lost clients this year (net client growth)
  • Revenue for the year and by month
  • Profit for the year and by month
  • Internal growth
  • Marketing activities and results
4. Look to the future. Review (or create) your vision, mission and values. Make sure they align with where you are now, and where you want to be as a business. There’s no shame in amending any of these. As your business matures, you may find that you outgrow your earlier aspirations, principles and purpose, and want to rearticulate your values to match the current organisation and direction more closely. 
5. Set your sights. Looking at what you have achieved this year, what can you realistically achieve in the next 12 months? If you had a dream-run, what would that look like? If you had unbelievable success, where would you be at this time next year? These can form the basis of your targets for the year. I like to set three types of targets as above. Many people only set two – growth and stretch. I like to add baseline because that’s the figure on which I base my financial budgets:
  • baseline targets: what I think the business will achieve if I just keep doing what I did last year
  • growth targets: what I think we can realistically achieve – given additional investment and/or work in marketing
  • stretch targets: the dream-run scenario
6. Translate targets into tactics. What activities/investment will be required to achieve your growth and stretch targets? How will you measure results? How will you define success? What are the milestones you will need to hit along the way?
So there you have it. My six-step process that will have you starting the new year with a clear direction and purpose. 
If you need support or help with any part of this process, Atomic Tangerine can help! See you in the new year!
Sybil Williams
Founder & Growth Catalyst