How to Finish the Year Strong
The Summer Transition
For many of us last week was a big transition. Our kids are back to school! As parents we love having more time with our kids during summer, maybe go on one or two vacations, enjoy a break from the routine.
As business owners we have to admit that this break in routine may have affected our productivity a little bit. We juggle many things and simply managing a child’s schedule can be a daunting task. Naturally our creative and strategic juices are being diverted from our business.
All of this is about to change again. We have just about 19 more weeks in 2014, which is not a long time, but at the same time it is enough to make sure we are finishing out the year strong. If we get focused now.
As we are heading into the last third of the year we may sometimes feel a little insecure about our business and how it is performing. We may not be sure if we are getting the most out of the business or making the most of market opportunities. We are not sure whether the business plan we developed at the beginning of the year is still accurate, or if it needs tweaking.
Questions To Evaluate Your Business
To avoid getting lost in the never-ending daily tasks we need to take some time to evaluate the state of affairs. Even just a few hours is time well spent. So close the door, put the phone on silent, switch off the WiFi, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started:
Here are a few questions that might help you with your evaluation:
What's my direction? To answer this you need to look at where you were at the beginning of the year, where you are now, and where you are in relation to your goals for 2014.
Are the strategies you decided on earlier in the year providing you with the results you need to meet your goals?
How are you measuring success? Remember, measures of performance may change as your business matures.
Which of your products and services are succeeding? Which aren't performing as planned and why? Identify which products and/or services offer both a high percentage of sales and high profit margins. What services/products will you be focusing on for the rest of the year?
What is your competition up to? Are they offering a new product or service? Are your prices still competitive? Are you still offering the most value for the money? Do you still have a market-dominating position?
What skills, assets, finance, relationships, technical competence and facilities do you need to compete? Have these changed in the last few months?
Are you reviewing costs frequently? Are you keeping a close enough eye on your direct costs, your overheads and your assets? Are there different ways of doing things or new materials you could use that would lower your costs? Consider ways in which you can negotiate better deals with your suppliers.
What is the one thing you need to change right now to make sure you achieve my goals?
Answering these questions will give you the basis on which to improve your performance and profitability. It's likely that you won’t be able to answer all of these questions on your own. That’s why you should include you’re your professional advisors, key staff, and strategic partners. Better to get the input now where there is still time to make changes.
Incorporate Your Findings
Once you have completed this evaluation, it’s critical that you incorporate your findings into your plan for the rest of the year. Today's business environment is exceptionally dynamic and it’s likely that you will need these kind of evaluations regularly. Your business and strategic plan needs to be constantly updated and revised in order for your business to maintain successful.
To your success,
Simon Zryd, Business And Productivity Coach