The start of a new financial year is the ideal time to review your business plan and overhaul your strategy if necessary. Start with the big-picture items like your business plan and work your way to tasks and processes like time-saving tools. By taking the time to plan and improve, you’ll set your small business up for a profitable year of growth ahead.
1. Review your business plan
Your business plan starts with an overarching mission and drills down to the finer details of how to achieve specific targets. Consider where you want to take your business in the next 12 months. Your mission should be specific, such as growing sales by 20% or adding product lines for a new demographic.
You can take some time to review your goals, research the market (including competitors and economic conditions), and do a SWOT analysis to help with your strategy. It’s a good idea to break down your overarching mission into further goals for the year. Quantify your goals if you can, so you can come back and measure your outcomes.
2. Check your financial statements
The end of the financial year is also a great time to check last year’s financial statements to obtain new insights. Your financial statements can tell you can save money, reveal potential new revenue streams, and be used to identify weaknesses such as cash flow. They can help you find ways to minimise your tax bill. You can work with a financial expert to ensure you get the best insights.
3. Identify cost-saving measures
Managing expenses is crucial for a profitable business to establish healthy margins. As you audit last year’s financial statements, look for opportunities to cut back on costs. Make a list of things you can do to save. Possible options include negotiating with suppliers for better pricing, buying in bulk, and offering employees non-monetary incentives. For example, staff members could value flexible hours more than an end-of-year bonus.
4. Refine your cash-flow strategy
Cash flow is a common issue with small businesses. As the new financial year rolls in, commit to smarter cash-flow management. List different ways you can manage your cash flow to cover everyday expenses. Update your cash-flow projections so you can plan for contingencies.
Work out how you can encourage customers to pay early. For example, you can reduce your standard payment cycle to 21 days instead of 30 days. You can also offer discounts for early payments and provide multiple payment methods.
5. Implement time-management methods
Small business owners can find themselves short on time because they try to do everything themselves. For the coming financial year, work out how you can work smarter and delegate non-essential tasks to save time. For example, you can use templates to generate standard documents, and you can work with inexpensive providers like virtual receptionists for non-core business activities.
6. Check your compliance obligations
Do a review of your licensing, permit, and registration requirements. Make sure your insurance coverage is sufficient for your growing business’s needs. It’s also a good time to check work, health, and safety obligations and to ensure you’re fulfilling your risk-management duties.
7. Review and adjust marketing plan
As you set out your targets for the coming year, adjust your marketing plan accordingly. For example, you could decide to spend more on Internet and social media marketing to reach a new target customer. You could also decide to promote your business by sharing expert videos in your field.
8. Establish record-keeping processes
Accurate, up-to-date records are vital for small businesses, but it’s not always easy to maintain these if you don’t have a big staffing team. Check your current record-keeping processes and work new processes into your operations. Update your software and other tools where necessary, and work with an IT expert if you have doubts.
9. Update technology
The start of a new financial year is a good time to think about any hardware and software updates you might need in the coming year. For example, you can plan to upgrade within the next 12 months to bring forward tax savings rather than waiting until the next financial year.
Technological upgrades can save you time, overheads, and staff requirements. For example, switching to cloud accounting and HR platforms can make it easier to share records with your accountant and financial advisors.
10. Consult with experts
Running a small business requires focusing on your core business activities, so working with partners in support areas like accounting, marketing, and IT can help free up time and allow you to access expertise. Check in with your top advisors as you refine your vision for the coming financial year.
Pinn Deavin are trusted advisors to businesses, offering a range of integrated services ranging from tax and compliance to management consulting. To find out more about how we can help your small business succeed, contact us today.