A New Season for Small Business – Getting Back to Business After the Holidays

A New Season for Small Business – Getting Back to Business After the Holidays

Let’s face it, Q4 and the holidays, in general, are the busiest time of year. On top of that, we try to plan our top priorities and timelines for the year ahead. In reality, we often find ourselves running the extra mile to complete what is already on our plate before year-end. 

If you are experiencing something similar, do not feel guilty about not having it all together before midnight on new years eve! So much can be accomplished when you return from your well-deserved vacation – it is all about balance. In this post, you will learn tips on making the most of your couple of weeks back at work after the holidays and how to get back to the grind. 


Start small

Much like the frantic feeling you have before the holidays, it is super common to feel that same way going back to work in the new year. You may have a few loose ends that need wrapping up, or a project is still in motion. Add your goals for the new year on top, and it is easy to feel like a mountain of work. Instead of feeling pressured to complete everything at once, start small. Do this with simple tasks, such as checking our email inbox or orders received over the holidays. While these tasks are smaller, they often are not allotted a designated time to be completed, which adds to the stress. Instead of trying to finish everything you need to do at once, take some time to get back in the swing of these by tackling some easy wins. Allow yourself to recap on where you left off before the holidays, bringing you back-up-to-speed. 


Many hands make light work 

Another recommendation is to delegate, delegate, delegate! Do you have a team that you can loop in to get some of those pesky tasks off your to-do list? Maybe it is doing a remaining inventory count or re-organizing the office working space. For tasks that do not need specific expertise, involve your team – as the saying goes, many hands make light work. 


Review your financials 

Now that the basics are off your list, let us dive into ways you can ramp up for the new year. We will start with a key recommendation of reviewing your previous financials! Reviewing your financials will help you identify where you did well and new areas you may want to focus your attention on. 

For example, your cash flow statements can help you identify how much you spent the previous year and in what areas. A revenue statement can give you insight into the areas that thrived. Lastly, a balance sheet or inventory statement can indicate if you have too little or excess inventory and if purchasing needs to be adjusted. With all of this information, you can determine what products or services performed, if seasonality came into play, and what will move the needle for your business in the year ahead.


Set your foundation

Now that you have a much better idea of where to focus your time, energy, and resources in the year ahead, it is time to set timelines. While it is good to not apply too much pressure on yourself the first couple of weeks back to work, it is best to have a solid plan for Q1 and use this time to set the foundation for the year ahead. From your findings from your financial review, what needs to be addressed to help your business scale? This could include hiring more staff, implementing new technology, or changing your pricing strategy. By doing the heavy lifting and completing tasks with dependencies, you can truly set yourself up for success for the remainder of the year. 


New year, new possibilities

To sum it up, taking the proper time to get back into the swing of things and forming a strong plan with clear goals is the best way to maximize a new year.  

If you’re looking for additional ways to hit the ground running in the year ahead, hiring a bookkeeper can help. Take a look at this blog post to see what hiring a bookkeeper can do for you. 

Defining Goals Using Your Business Functions

Defining Goals Using Your Business Functions

Running a small business is no easy feat. Regularly, you are juggling multiple plates in the air; yet are still responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly. With the constant balancing act, it can be a challenge to determine what needs your attention at any given moment. And with the end of 2021 inching closer, the task of planning and prioritizing initiatives in the year ahead add to the mix. 

Want to be proactive for the year ahead? Don’t sweat it. In this post, we will give you sure-fire tips on how to prepare for the upcoming year, where to prioritize your time, and how to make sure your goals align so you can hit the ground running.

Reflection is key

To plan for the future, it’s necessary to reflect on the past. Questions you can ask yourself are: How did my business perform this year? What were the highlights? Is there anything I’d change? These are some great questions to get the ball rolling. 

Once you’ve had the chance to reflect on the year as a whole, now it’s time to plan. However, you may still find it challenging to determine what initiatives to prioritize and where to focus your time.

Hint – it is not one area over another

Now, depending on who you talk to, every small business owner has a different idea of what to prioritize. For some, it’s marketing, for others, it’s finance, while for others, it’s operations. However, in reality, it should be all of the above. The truth is, all of your business functions are interdependent. And while they may be interdependent, that is not to say you can’t break them into manageable pieces.

A great way to do this is to review all the different functions of your business which can include: operations, human resources, finance and accounting, marketing, research and development and more. While this list might seem extensive, in reality, it is what you take on, each and every day. For each of these functions, you’ll have several tasks that are non-negotiable and must be completed as they are critical for your business. While on the other side, there are activities that may already be on your radar, but you may be unsure of how to prioritize.

Goal setting for your business functions 

This is where creating goals for specific business functions come into play. By establishing goals for the different areas of your business, you can operate your business like a well-oiled machine but take smaller steps towards a bigger accomplishment. This also makes it manageable to prioritize your time across different areas of the business without feeling overwhelmed. 

For example, after reviewing your yearly financials, you realize you have room in your budget. By taking a step back and reviewing all areas of your business, you can highlight some gaps in your stock and production operations. A primary goal for the year ahead could be to hire an additional employee to help resolve some of these gaps. 

Once you’ve established your primary goal, it’s easy to plan a series of actions that follow. For example, if your goal is to hire an additional team member, actions could be to determine the official responsibilities of the role, prepare a job posting, promote the position, interview candidates and onboard a new team member.

While this example is more geared towards operations and human resources, it can easily be applied to other areas of your business. By reviewing the different functions and creating goals and actions for each, you can be more strategic and better determine what activities to prioritize and allocate enough time to complete them.


Work smarter, not harder 

If you’re still looking for additional tips on goal setting, make sure to check out our recent blog post, where we highlight how to create SMART goals to help ensure success and stay motivated along the journey.