Jump Start Your Plan for Next Year With These 5 Great Tips
The trends, insights, and solutions you need to grow your business.
By signing up, you’re subscribing to our monthly email newsletter, The
Wire. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Planning for the upcoming year is underway for some companies, but many small business owners will delay the look-ahead task until the end of the fourth quarter.
For larger companies, work has already begun on next year's budgets. And some are indicating that this year feels a little different — perhaps "more normalized."
Because there are fewer unknowns this year going into the new year, the process may be similar to pre-pandemic times, said Gregg Forde, Island Hospitality president and COO.
You can assess expectations for the upcoming year slightly more accurately compared to the previous two years, he said in a Hotel News Now article by Costar's Bryan Wroten.
As you plan for your small business, here are five tips to help guide you.
Start early. If you're waiting to sit down and start planning for the next year in December or even after the new year begins, reconsider that timing.
Some experts and entrepreneurs say small business owners should start the process sooner.
"Many of your partners and suppliers begin making their budgets in the fall, tying up money they could have spent on activities with you," writes business advisor Steve Milano in an article posted on Chron.com, a Houston Chronicle site.
"Begin your planning for the coming year after your third-quarter results are in. At the very latest, start your planning well before people start taking off for the Thanksgiving holiday."
Revisit your vision, mission and values. Setting specific goals is a standard component of strategic planning, and your plan for the next year is no different. Outline concrete goals for your small business in marketing, sales, product development, operations, and revenue.
You should review your values, the company's mission, and your vision for the organization as part of the process, advises a post by nonprofit lender Accion Opportunity Fund.
After weighing in new goods or services, community obligations, or personal objectives, your view in these three areas may slightly differ from your perspective from the previous year and impact your goals for the new year.
Sales figures are one method for evaluating your performance, but success may mean many different things to different people, adds the Accion post.
Of course, the financial aspect is crucial, but for planning purposes, broaden your perspective beyond revenues.
"It also helps to think in terms of what your community involvement is like, how green your business is, and what kind of programs you have in place for your employees," the Accion post explains. "Again, measure yourself against your vision, mission and values."
Be strategic. Creating a strategic plan tends to be more conceptual and dynamic than making a business plan, according to experienced small business consultants at SCORE.
"It serves as a roadmap for your small business to reach its goals," says a SCORE blog. "It allows you to gauge your company’s performance, strengths, and weaknesses over time."
Assess staffing needs. The labor shortage could mean you're already aware of the need for new hires to fill still-open positions. It's also essential to evaluate other possible staffing needs, including potential end-of-year turnover.
"It's important to realize that many employees tend to ponder their own futures at the end of the year, '' says an Investopedia post by Glenn Curtis. "They start thinking about whether they intend to stay with your company or move on. If they choose the latter, you will have to deal with the consequences."
Consider the timing of large purchase items. Planning earlier rather than later will allow you to measure tax considerations as you evaluate inventory, large equipment, or other needs, specifically the timing of purchases.
Year-end tax planning could help make the most out of the eligibility for deductions and credits for your small business, explains Jean Murray, business law and taxes expert for The Balance.
"Using surplus cash to pre-pay expenses or stock up on supplies and inventory can increase your deductible expenses for the year," she writes in a blog for The Balance