The end of financial year is approaching and for business owners, much of our time is firmly focused on completing must-do processes, driven by financial and tax deadlines.
This is the time of year that business owners see diaries filling up with desk-time and less than inspiring meetings to balance the books. It’s also the time of year that we need to be giving attention to the fundamentals that underpin sustainable business performance. But being time-poor, it’s this working ‘on’ the business that often plays second fiddle to our pressing ‘in’ the business tasks.
So how do we emerge from another challenging year, overcome fatigue, and time deficit and set up for success and impact in the year to come? The good news is there are a few simple and practical things business owners can do to sail rather than saunter into the new year.
How to set your business up for success in the new financial year
Time is arguably business owners’ most valuable commodity. Unsurprisingly, looking in the rear-view mirror is often considered a luxury and looking forward is done on the fly. But it’s quality rather than quantity that matters when it comes to working ‘on’ your business.
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Setting aside a few hours of your time before June 30 will help you recognise your achievements and form a solid foundation for taking your business forward.
Bask in the year that was
First things first, give your undivided attention to answering a few questions about the year that has (almost) passed.
What goals did you set for your business this year? What have you achieved? What are you proud of? What have you learnt? Where have you fallen short? What got in the way? What opportunities remain untapped?
Here you have yourself an opportunity to celebrate your business wins and sketch an outline of what can and needs to happen next.
Take stock of your strategy
With clues gained from looking backward, you can start to envision what success looks like for your next year in business. Get your laptop (or trusty pen and paper) ready again, because now it’s time to build on your strategy and make sure it will serve your goals for the next 12 months.
Imagine your business this time next year. What will you see, hear, and feel if you have achieved your vision for success during this phase? Ask yourself lots of open questions (who, what, where, why, when) to explore what is possible. Capture your answers in words so you have a tangible way to identify what success will look like and so you can plan to make sure it happens.
What strategic goals did you set yourself last year? Which of these remain relevant and which can be left behind and replaced by new goals? Now jot down three to five goals you will commit to so you can achieve the vision you have mapped out for your business.
Plan to deliver and deliver to plan
Congratulations! If you have invested the time to get to this point, you are almost there, but don’t overlook this final most important step. Goals are nothing without a plan to make them happen.
What must you do to turn your strategic vision into reality, and your goals into results in the year ahead?
This step is as much about documenting your actions as it is committing to the steps you will take to dedicate time to delivering on your plan. This is important because all business owners know it’s super easy to get sucked into the daily grind of operating the business and in doing so, take your eyes off how you’re tracking against your long-term vision.
For each of your business goals, ask yourself what actions need to happen to achieve that goal. Then think about what you (and your team, if you have one) might need to stop, start, or continue doing to focus on those things that will make the greatest impact. Now is also an opportunity to prioritise your actions and determine what you could knock off as ‘quick wins’.
Finally, open your diary and schedule time to make progress on your goals. Seeing progress is the best way to motivate more progress, so carve out time every week, and make a commitment to review your overall progress to plan at least once per quarter. Also decide where you will do this so you can make sure you can get your head into the strategy space and avoid being uninterrupted.
Now you’re ready to go!
Take out less than a day of time from your business to complete these three simple steps and you will achieve a huge amount of clarity, direction, and energy to take your business forward.
You’re all set to kick off the new year with a plan and renewed commitment to achieving the endless possibilities for your business. Give yourself a pat on the back and get going (but don’t forget the tax)!