Your focus right now might be on the end of Q3 and into Q4, but a new fiscal year will be upon us before we know it. Is your small business ready for Q1? If you don’t hit the ground running during the slower period for most businesses, you may lose traction before the year begins.
Intuit recently looked at trends for 2021 and made some predictions for the full fiscal year 2022. They predicted a growth of 12 to 14% for small business and self-employed in the next year. That means a lot of new businesses starting in 2022 and a lot more competition across all sectors.
Do you want to make sure your business is ready for Q1 no matter how established or new it is? There are some specific steps you can take. Follow these steps and fix any issues you encounter.
1. Set Annual Goals
Each year, you should look at the goals you have for the next twelve months. However, don’t wait until the first day of Q1 to set goals. You should know what your goals are well before you head into your new fiscal year.
Create goals for potential revenue, employee growth and improvements you’d like to make to your business. Look at the entire year and then break it down by quarter and by month.
2. Winterize Your Vehicles
Before winter weather hits, make sure your business vehicles are ready. If you have a fleet of work vans, poorly maintained equipment impacts your crew and can lower productivity and safety.
Check tires to make sure you have enough tread for slippery surfaces, top off fluids and ensure heaters work. Check belts and basic maintenance you’d do every year anyway. The more prepared your fleet is, the better equipped your technicians to do their jobs safely.
3. Update Insurance
A new year is a good time to review your insurance coverage. Your business has hopefully grown in the last year, so ensure you have enough to replace inventory and keep running even if a disaster strikes.
Call your insurance agent and review your policy to see if you can save money. What is your deductible? If you have extra funds in savings, you may be able to raise it a bit and lower your monthly payments.
4. Revamp Your Marketing Goals
According to Statista, advertising spending will hit approximately $790 billion by the end of 2022. Although digital marketing and targeted ads can be quite successful, you can also waste a lot of money without a solid plan.
Plan what inventory you want to move in Q1 and the marketing campaigns you’ll need to get traffic to those products or services. When January arrives, you’ll want to hit the ground running and already have social media posts in the pipeline.
5. Protect Compliance
Ninety days will disappear before you know it, so make sure you enter Q1 with a list of anything you need to file or renew to maintain your compliance. If you owe fees, pay them in January so you don’t wind up giving extra in late fees.
6. Plan Team Building
The start of a new year is a good time to get your employees on the same page and initiate new training programs. For many industries, January and February are particularly slow months, so utilize them to learn new skills.
If you want to scale your business up, it’s vital you train your employees and retain the ones you have.
7. Revamp Policies
The business world is a rapidly changing landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic caused most businesses to change processes and policies. Are you ready for Q1 and any changes that might come?
Take the time to review policies before the end of Q4. Is anything not working well for your business? How is your customer service policy? Can you make any improvements? What does your employee leave look like? What happens if someone contracts COVID?
8. Take Inventory
Plan to take inventory in Q1. Assign employees to count the products you have on hand and do a complete account of everything. Although it would be nice to complete inventory by year’s end and start the new year clearing out access, you may not have time between Christmas and New Year’s.
Once you have a complete inventory, do an assessment. What do you have too much of? What do you need more of? Make the needed adjustments to ensure you have enough stock on hand to cover orders and can clear out anything not making a profit for you.
Reset Your Thought Processes
Each new year comes with its own set of challenges and victories. As you prep for Q1, let all the things from the previous year go and plan for a new year with a new set of goals. Strive to do more than in years past and take your business to the next level.