Where does the time go? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were celebrating the end of 2012 and welcoming in 2013? Suddenly, we are back in the holiday-season mode and getting ready to say hello to another new year. But before we break into cacophonous versions of “Auld Lang Syne,” let’s make sure we finish strong in 2013. Here are four steps you can take before receiving your first fruitcake to help with the transition over to 2014.
1. Review your wins and losses. How did your company do this year? Did you have any surprise wins or losses? To what do you attribute these changes in your business? Did a competitor beat you out? Did a client go out of business? Maybe you’re not sure how you got to where you are at this point in the year. The last sentence is a bit scary, but may seem somewhat familiar for many small-business owners. It’s only when these owners go through old files and emails that they realize all the wins and losses that took place over the year.
If you don’t want to repeat the losses of 2013, or if you are looking to build on the success you had with certain clients or products that you sell, then take the time to review this year with your team. Write down the dos and don’ts for next year and you will be in a better position to hit the ground running in 2014.
2. Organize your office. I love the feeling of a clean, organized office. Out with the old, in with the new! Go through your filing cabinets, computer folders, and the office setup. During the year, you may have let things go. Now is the time to fix or replace whatever is broken and organize whatever is out of place. That way, you spend less time next year searching for items and more time working on your business. For example, I have three different folders for each of my clients that I need to merge into single folders. Additionally, I’ve been meaning to get a new desk and chair for almost a year! Every time I remember it, usually because of my stiff legs or back, something else pops up and I forget about it.
3. Take time to reflect on your higher purpose. Why are you doing what you do? I realize that you probably enjoy selling your products or services, but what’s your higher purpose for being a business owner? My higher purpose is to help other owners run better businesses. I want to help them steer clear of potholes and pitfalls on their respective paths to success. Business owners have so much going against them; I’d like to be someone that is working for them.
Set aside some time before the end of the year and reflect on your higher purpose. Is the work you are doing in alignment with your higher goals? In the end, your goals should include some element of giving back.
4. Say thank you to everyone who helped you this year. No man or woman is an island. We all have people and companies to thank for helping us live our dreams. Think of unique and special ways to say thank you to these supporters of your business. Don’t short-change it either. Be unique and show your appreciation with thoughtful gestures. I personally think spending time together, be it at a meal or an event, is a great opportunity to let them know how much they mean to you. If you've done your homework, then you should know their interests and favorite things. Your gift can be an item or experience they can share with their family.
If you have any other tips or suggestions on how to end 2013 on a strong note, I’d love to hear about them. In my next post, I will discuss different ways you can hit the ground running in 2014. As an aside, I'd like to say thanks to everyone at OPEN Forum and to the readers here who’ve made 2013 a very special year for me. I truly value your feedback and your friendships. My goal for next year is to write the type of content that will help you achieve your goals. Until then, let’s enjoy each and every day.
As the founder and CEO of Brian Moran & Associates, Brian helps entrepreneurs run better businesses. He was formerly the executive director at The Wall Street Journal, overseeing the financial and small-business markets across the WSJ franchise. From 2002 to 2010, Brian ran Veracle Media and Moran Media Group, content companies in the SMB market.