This time of year can be the most stressful period for a lot of business owners and companies, with many closing out the final quarter results, submitting business plans and budgets to the board for approval, or trying to pick patterns for the year that have either negatively or positively affected their results.
This is normally the case because business owners and entrepreneurs get stuck in the ‘business-as-usual’ or ‘day-to-day’ mindsets. But this means they fail to get an accurate picture of their business from a helicopter view.
Every 12 months, a company should do a business audit across all areas of its operations to see where gaps exist and also to identify what opportunities can be taken advantage of in the new financial year.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 slow-down, it is the perfect time for an audit because a lot may have changed both internally and externally in your business and you — as the owner/CEO — need to take an objective and hard look at all areas. As the saying goes: “Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity.”
Here are my top five tips on how and when to prepare for the new financial year.
Examine the fundamentals
There are 16 fundamental areas all businesses should be looking at in order to run a great company. This does not mean all areas have to be perfect, but it will identify the areas that need some work. These areas are: leadership and management; mindset; relationships and networking; vision and purpose; product and service; operations and systems; financial intelligence; people and culture; revenue and sales; brand and marketing; technology and disruptions; capital raising and valuations; strategy and planning; reporting and metrics; governance and advisory; external conditions and competition.
Spotlight key changes
Once you have examined all of the areas in your business in a really objective way, choose three or four areas to focus on and put into your business plan for the new financial year. This might include focusing on the financial health of the business, ways to improve your product, how to create a better culture, or it might even be the appointment of a board for better governance. As business owners we cannot focus on all things at once, so highlight the areas you are going to focus on and go for it.
Lock in the basics
Have the basics under control before you start thinking of the next world-changing idea. These basics are: a business plan; a budget (P&L/cashflow); and clear milestones set throughout the year so you know if the strategy is working.
Prepare for change
In the wake of COVID-19 it is critical to highlight areas of your business that have changed, stayed the same or have become redundant. Don’t be afraid to challenge the way things have been done in the past and potentially build a new business model off the back of this crisis. Things will change. Change is good.
Be a glass-half-full boss
Ensure your mindset as a CEO or business leader is one of optimism and hope, not doom and gloom, because your outlook will set the tone throughout your company. I am not saying be delusional or recklessly positive, just look for the opportunities and ways to encourage your team and customers. That’s your job.