What is one thing a business should do at year-end?
To help small businesses close out the year on a high note, we asked business leaders this question for their best advice. From taking stock of the year’s progress to celebrating employee efforts, there are several insights that may help you decide what things to do to finish the year strong.
Here are 11 priorities businesses should tackle at year-end:
- Take Stock of the Year’s Progress
- Thank Customers and Staff
- Review Company Goals at an Employee Town Hall
- Reflect on Innovation and Proactivity
- Revise all Periodical Expenses
- Evolve Employee Performance Metrics
- Look at the Year-End Data
- Refresh Your Social Media
- Do Your Taxes Before the End of the Year
- Celebrate Employee Efforts
- Prepare the Company’s Infrastructure
Take Stock of the Year’s Progress
At the end of the year, your business should do what so many individuals do around then: Take stock of the year that was and start planning and setting goals for the year to come.
If you didn’t hit your targets, examine why. Be introspective about it. And, if you have your sights set on big things, draft a blueprint for how to achieve them, but be flexible about how you’re going to get to the finish line.
Kyle McIntosh, MAC6
Thank Customers and Staff
Besides the obvious financial and budgeting reporting that should be done at year-end, it’s important to acknowledge our customers and employees who have supported our small business throughout the year.
Without our customers and staff, we are nothing, so it’s important to let them know how vital they are to us. There are many creative ways to say “thank you.” Elaborate or small, everyone likes to know they are appreciated. Get creative and have fun doing it.
Shannon Wood, Accurate Air
Review Company Goals at an Employee Town Hall
I think it’s valuable to have a companywide meeting or town hall at least once a quarter to give updates on company progress and goals. Employees who are actively engaged in their work and that are dedicated to the company will want to know how the company is performing.
Engage employees and make it interactive and get ideas on how to achieve goals and improve performance.
Shelbey Grimes, Trinity Air Medical
Reflect on Innovation and Proactivity
At the end of the year, companies should reflect back on how innovative, and proactive they were.
Ask yourself: Did you ever take a risk and shake things up? Did you go to market with that special offering before the competition beat you to it? Did you encourage innovative thinking amongst your team and see it put into action?
Innovation is key to growth, as well as staying relevant within your niche. So, be sure that it has been and will continue to be your North star as you move into the new year.
Greg Gillman, MuteSix
Revise All Periodical Expenses
Checking all recurring expenses is a great way to finish the year with a feeling that the next one will be better. Canceling all unused subscriptions or services that don’t bring more value than they cost is a quick way to improve the business. The low season for many companies also makes it a great time for this type of activity.
Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.digital
Evolve Employee Performance Metrics
This year, using data to measure employee performance may be a mistake as it’s merely a numeric description of their work. With teams buckling down and working around the clock to complete projects, everyone will experience ups and downs in their performance.
For this reason, empathy should outmeasure data in their year-end evaluations. Looking at your employee’s overall performance and how it adds to your objectives is essential in measuring their success.
And considering your team members’ work history and the long-term relationships they have established with clients is vital. Customer retention is a valuable KPI in measuring your business’s success and growth potential.
Remember, those long-term business relationships are built on empathy and trust. And the relationships you have with your employees should be, too.
Jared Pobre, Caldera + Lab
Look at the Year-End Data
One thing a business should do at year-end is to analyze data from the previous year and evaluate what is working and what areas of the business need to be improved upon. Making data-driven decisions is critical to optimizing your business and reaching your goals.
You can use different analytical software to look at your business’s data and make informed decisions utilizing the data. This will help improve the health of your business and make it more efficient. This way, you can invest resources in the areas of the business that need it most and see the greatest ROI from your investments going into the future.
Jason Butcher, CoinPayments
Refresh Your Social Media
The end of the year is a great time to take stock of your social media accounts. Update your main image on your Facebook homepage for a fresh new start and ensure your contact information is up to date.
Swap out your pinned tweet on Twitter with an updated on-trend tweet and delete anything that seems irrelevant. Assess what your audience engaged with this year and work to implement some of those same techniques in the year ahead.
Stewart McGrenary, Freedom Mobiles
Do Your Taxes Before the End of the Year
The end of the year is a busy time for businesses. But you still should do your taxes before the end of the year. This allows time to make additional purchases. More spending leads to more expenses and therefore reduces your tax load of the current year.
At the same time, the benefits of the purchases carry into the coming years—a simple yet very effective way to optimize your business.
Peter Thaleikis, Bring Your Own Ideas Ltd.
Celebrate Employee Efforts
Don’t forget the most valuable asset of your business at the year-end event, your employees. It is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the company and employee success together. Not only that, but the end-of-year holiday season offers several options to reward and appreciate them for their efforts.
I do a little research on what my workers desire the most to help them accomplish those goals. I plan a large gathering, which also increases team bonding. Don’t underestimate the power of appreciation and praise. So, we give rewards and appreciate our best and hard-working employees.
Axel Hernborg, Tripplo.com
Prepare the Company’s Infrastructure
It’s easy for business executives to get tied up in end-of-year goals and deliverables without truly preparing their company’s infrastructure for the coming year.
At a technical and logistical level, it’s important to conduct an enterprise network audit, or an examination of all software, hardware, and users on the network to see if there are any outdated or vulnerable pain points that need to be addressed.
At a people level, don’t just default to holiday bonuses or company gifts; show appreciation, but also send out an end-of-year survey to employees at all levels so you can use their input to frame goals for the next quarter and year.
Shelby Hiter, TechnologyAdvice