December is the month of the year when you take time to stitch the final seams on this year’s deals and reap its last fruits. Since it is the homestretch, there are things you need to do to finish the year strong and survive January’s business blues. Here are six tips on how to finish the year strong.
1. Do Not Discount, Add Value
As the year comes to an end, you may find yourself in a rush to clear the stock of the previous year and goods which are no longer on offer. The first impulse is to discount. While this seems like a good incentive, it will always work against your business. Every time you lower the price of your product, you lower the value of your business.
The best way of pushing out old stocks is to use appropriate incentives. As the year ends, people are willing to spend more on fun and entertainment. Partner with another business or entrepreneur to provide gifts such as vouchers, entertainment, movie tickets, and gift cards among others.
2. Hire Extra Staff
During the other parts of the year, you could meet your customer’s requirements with your current number of employees. However, as the holiday season kicks off, your staff is most likely to be overstretched. Figure out where you may need one more hand. The most cost-effective way is hiring students on holiday to help you out in the store.
The month of December is also a great month to find new employees. If you think you need a professional to handle an aspect of your business, then this is the time to go hunting. Most job contracts end in December. It is the time to hold your interviews.
3. Check Your Financial Accounts
Just because your business is a small one does not mean you should pay little attention to its financial performance. It is an investment, albeit small, and as such, you should monitor its growth. The fundamental questions should be: Are you making money or losing it? What do the numbers say? How much does it cost to be in business?
The numbers to consider in this financial analysis are net income, profit and loss, cash flow, gross margin and stocks inventory. Even better, seek financial assistance from your investment advisor, a business consultant, or your bank.
4. Plan Next Year’s Finances
Individuals can make New Year’s resolutions on the New Year’s Eve. Businesses don’t. They may announce them then, but these are made weeks early. Once you know your business’s financial standing, the next step is to plan for the coming year. Use the opportunity to correct past mistakes.
5. Manage Shipping Deadlines
Plan to finish your year strong by managing the shipping deadlines for inbound stock and outbound supplies or deliveries. If you are buying stock for your business, ensure you find a supplier who can deliver as soon as possible. Otherwise, you are better off purchasing locally.
For deliveries, send them as soon as possible to avoid the last-minute rush and potential damages. You need to end the year owing none of your customers.
6. Appreciate Your Staff
The best way to end the year is with a happy, appreciated team. They have put in their time and expertise on your business. Some of them trusted your idea and left better offers to help you build your brand. There are also those who have gone out of their way to defend or promote your product.
It is true that you paid relatively well, and might not have made much profit. However, it is still worth it to appreciate your team’s efforts. You may have passed the chances to show gratitude over the months; this is the time to do so. If you cannot afford a vacation, try an in-house party or a holiday gift, the possibilities are endless.
The last month of the year is the time to build your business for success in the next year. Use this period to appreciate your customers and staff, review your financial performance and plan for the following year.
Running a business is no easy task! Joining a network of like-minded entrepreneurs can be a great way of alleviating the stresses of being a business-owner while also picking up useful practical tips. NAPW is a network of more than 850,000 women and offers inspiration, support and motivation through virtual and face to face meetings. Connect with the network that will help you achieve more today!