1 big question to ask about your business this new year

1 big question to ask about your business this new year

How was 2016 for your business? Are you where you wanted to be at year’s end? Did you reach your goals?

As we move through the festive season and summer holiday period, it’s a good time to take a look back over the past 12 months. We spend so much of the year focused on the day-to-day, keeping the business ticking over from one week or month to the next, that we often don’t take time out to reflect.

It’s time to look at the bigger picture.

So, where do you start? I always recommend asking yourself this question as a jumping off point: “If I knew what I know now, what would I have done differently?”

This question allows you to hone in on what went wrong or what could have been done better. It helps you identify the problems you experienced during the year and, therefore, gives you the best possible opportunity not to make those mistakes again in the coming year. But it’s not just a “post-mortem. It’s also a question that forces you to think about and provide solutions. It doesn’t just ask what went wrong, but how you would handle it differently in order to avoid or resolve it.

In that sense, it’s actually more like an annual check–up. It’s an opportunity to play doctor to your own business. Much like a check-up, where your doctor goes over all parts of your body — checking your heartbeat is regular, making you say “ahh”, taking your blood pressure — it’s essential to look at all areas of your business.

An annual check-up now is better than a post-mortem later

Knowing what you know now, could you change your workflows to make them more efficient? Knowing what you know now, could you have budgeted better? Or could you have invested more wisely, or should you have kept a better eye on your cash flow? What tools could you introduce to stop the problem happening again?

When a doctor detects a problem, she doesn’t send you home without any corrective advice or action. Once a problem has been identified, it’s time to take your medicine. It’s time to take actions to stop any problems you experienced in 2016 from being repeated in 2017.

Consider making a fundamental change to the way your run your business. Monitor your cash flow more closely; create a five-year budget; work more closely with your accountant, having them take on more of a financial advisory role. Do whatever it takes to make your business more successful than it was in 2016.

If you’re interested in making a change, Reep has cash flow planning, budgeting and forecasting facilities that can help you improve your business practices. It integrates with MYOB, Agrimaster and Xero accounting software platforms and can be seamlessly shared with your accountant and financial advisors.

For more information, contact Reep.