If your business is one of the many that closes or dramatically slows down over the Christmas and New Year period, what do you do with your time? One thing you can do is take some time to do a business review. This doesn’t have to be a formal process that is very involved and numbers-driven. Instead, it is more about strategy. In other words, looking at what happened over the past 12 months so you can learn from the things that went well and those that didn’t.
You might be the only person who sees the review although it will help you take decisions, plan initiatives, and direct your team.
The exact form of the business review will depend on your business and industry. Below are some questions you could ask yourself, though.
Did you achieve your sales targets?
Did you achieve overall sales targets, and did each product or product group perform as expected? Think about the reasons why in each case, i.e. what were the factors that led to you hitting targets and/or what prevented the business from achieving sales goals.
What were the major themes of the year?
When you think about 2016 in a few years’ time what will be your main recollections? They could be positive – new product launches, breakthroughs into new markets, record sales results, successful expansion initiatives, etc. They might be negative too – staffing issues, cash flow problems, disappointing sales results, failing products, technical issues, production problems, etc.
In each case, ask yourself how you can take action to either enhance these themes in 2017 or avoid them.
What were the main accomplishments and disappointments?
This one could crossover with the previous point but not necessarily. The end result is the same though – can you further exploit the accomplishments and ensure you avoid the disappointments in the coming year.
What is the one thing you should have dealt with better?
The previous questions are about your business whereas this one is about you personally – what did you do that, on reflection, you feel could have been handled better?
Is your business doing the right things?
Now look at each aspect of your business to see if you are doing the right things, i.e. the right people in place, the right policies, the right systems, the right procedures, etc. The areas you should look at include people management, recruitment, marketing strategies, sales strategies, accounting and tax, product development, production, customer service, IT, administration, and more.
Was your business as efficient as it could have been?
Almost all businesses answering honestly would probably answer this in the negative. The question therefore becomes how can you make your business more efficient in 2017.
What is your competition doing differently?
Take a bit of time to think about your competitors as well. Did they do anything in 2016 that caught you by surprise, that gave them an edge, or that might give them an edge in the future? Did they try something that didn’t work? What do you think they might do in 2017?
What are the trends in your market?
Finally, take an honest look at the trends in the market. The word honest in that previous sentence is important. For example, don’t automatically come to the conclusion that a particular technology or consumer trend in your industry that is gaining traction in other parts of the world won’t take hold here because we are different in Ireland. The more honest you are with trends the more success you will have at maximising opportunities and mitigating threats.
For more help and advice with your business please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.