As a business owner, every day is filled with numerous demands and immediate concerns that simply can’t be ignored. It can feel like you are constantly being pulled in countless different directions, making it difficult to make anything that is not urgent a priority. Regardless of how much needs to be done each day, at least once a year the structure, strategy, and financial future of your business must be thoroughly evaluated.
Re-assess SWOT at least once a year.
Your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are constantly changing. Something that may have once been a weakness could easily become something you would consider to now be a strength or vice versa. It is important to do a SWOT analysis at least once per year, to make sure you are strengthening your weaknesses, encouraging your strengths, pursuing all opportunities and neutralizing your threats.
Review annual financial statement and forecast
Hopefully you are already reviewing your finances monthly, but at the very least they should be analyzed yearly. Create a financial statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and profit & loss statement for the entire year and then break it down by month. Look for trends or problems that could prevent the following year from running smooth. If you use an online company for your invoicing and cash flow management, these reports will be ready and accessible from anywhere.
Review your expenses for ways to save money
There are constant changes in technology and businesses should always be looking for new ways to save time and money. Every expense should be qualified to see if it is still a necessary component of your business. You should also send out quote requests to see if there is another supplier who can either supply a superior product or who can supply the same product at a reduced cost. If you plan on switching suppliers and you are still happy with your current supplier, offer them a chance to match the new bid before parting ways.
Review sales projections and compare growth to previous years
It is important that every company reviews their growth trends and compares it to previous years, to make sure it is maintaining the same rate of growth. If there is an issue, look for reasons that could be causing a decline and ways that it can be prevented in the future. If you notice there is a steady increase in the percentage of growth, make sure that your business will be ready to handle it.
Review Marketing Efforts
Not every marketing and advertising plan is going to work, so it is important that you review your return on investment when it comes to your marketing budget. Take a close look at what worked and what didn’t work, so you can create a more effective plan for the follow year’s business. You should also investigate new marketing opportunities at this time.
Your day to day operations are going to take up the majority of your time, but it is essential that you delve into the big picture at least once per year. Every business should always be actively looking for ways to improve. The easiest way to do that is by analyzing your SWOT, reviewing your financial statements, looking for ways to cut costs, improve sales, and enhance the results of your marketing efforts.