This seems to be the title of every other email I’ve received in the last few weeks, yet none of them refer to any good business practices (which for most of us coaches influences how our year will go!). So as a New Year’s gift or a “whenever” gift, let me share with you some things that can help you start your year off right with your business and keep it that way throughout the year.
1. Evaluate your business against last year’s Business Plan. As coaches, most of us take an inventory of how we’ve grown and met challenges on a personal level…do the same for your business.
• What was your plan?
• What worked/didn’t work?
• What needs to be updated, added to, or just thrown out?
• What do you know now that you didn’t before?
2. Your Financials
• Make sure you’re working with an accountant and/or financial planner who specializes in small businesses. He or she should be available for year-end advice – not just at tax time.
• Be sure your books are up to date and organized.
• Ensure that memberships and licenses are up to date.
• Study your various buckets of revenue and see which are paying off (or not). How did you spend your time/your billable hours/days?
• Determine your fixed expenses (website hosting, phones, etc.) and your variable ones, i.e. conferences
1. Be strategic at year-end to maximize your business. Sometimes you can defer your income until the following year – an especially good move if you have had a financially good year. Since I operate on a cash basis for my accounting, I often defer billing a couple of clients until late December or January in order to move the income into next year (when I might not be as profitable). Think about your tax bracket for the next year.
2. Consider if you’ve already accumulated a loss for this year. If so, get as many advanced payments as possible. I often tell clients that I cannot commit a date (say 3 months hence) without a 50% retainer.
3. Buy goods or services now that you will need if your income is up and cash on-hand permits
4. Make Contributions
a. Retirement Plan
3. Conduct a Website Review
• Make sure your website meets the standards for any associates or linkages. I loved my website, but it didn’t work well with Smart Phones and IPads. It was up to me to adjust to the changing world.
• Review your company information
o “About Us” page
o Contact information
• Check email routing
o firstname.lastname@example.org or other generic emails
• Review and test contact forms
• Review automated messages
o Order confirmations/receipts
• Update your copyright and/or privacy statements
o Test all links
• Review hidden areas, e.g. passwords
• Review your domain record ensuring that you are the registrant and the administrative contact.
4. Staying Sane
• Delegate anything you can (is this the year to hire some assistance?)
• Make business planning at least a monthly event (I set a half day a month aside to review and plan).
• Learn something new to stretch you (it doesn’t have to be business related – my skeet shooting enhanced my image with several of my male clients and I really enjoyed it).
• Join a new business organization or networking group to stay fresh (don’t forget to drop out of one that doesn’t serve you anymore).
• Give something back to your community (it’s a universal law…what goes around, comes around).
• Schedule time for YOU (as coaches, sometimes we are the shoemaker’s children when it comes to this). It’s necessary – our work requires us to be fully present!
• Set realistic goals or intentions for yourself and your business.
• Invest in your future success…trust your inner knowing to tell you what is wise.
• Drop what’s not working for you and move on!
May you flourish in the new year…whenever it starts for you is perfect!