With the end of the year approaching, now is a great time to begin thinking about growing your business in the year to come. So, what can a business like yours do to get ahead on the new year, while keeping an eye on growth?
I reached out to multiple businesses and asked for their best hacks for wrapping up the year and starting the next one with a bang. Grab a notepad and see which of these tips align with your visions for growing your business in the coming year.
Focus on Culture
Who: Nikki Hallgrimsdottir, vice president of growth at Algomus, an enterprise artificial intelligence firm
Year-End Strategy: "As part of our initiative to close out the year on a high note and greet each other in the new year with a refreshed sense of purpose and motivation, we ask for feedback from within our organization to evaluate the year's wins and areas of improvement as we move into the next year."
Why This Fosters Growth: "This leadership mentality and emphasis on culture has manifested in a statistic we're quite proud of: We have yet to lose one customer and have a high employee retention rate."
Know Your Numbers
Who: Marc Prosser, co-founder and managing partner of small-business consultancy Fit Small Business
Year-End Strategy: "Know your tax liability. How much money did the company make or lose? For most business owners, the answer is very simple, subtract the company balance at the end of year from the beginning. However, this is not the way the IRS calculates taxes."
—Zachary Pousman, founder, Helpfully
Why This Fosters Growth: "Getting a big, unexpected tax bill in April can torpedo the new year. Closing the year right means knowing your tax liability."
Highlight the Wins
Who: Harris Doan, director of analytics at mattress manufacturer Saatva
Year-End Strategy: "One trick that really fires employees up is discussing and listing the past year's achievements. Because we strive for continuous improvement, we're constantly critiquing and making changes throughout the year. At our year-end meeting, we focus on reviewing the positive as a group."
Why This Fosters Growth: "It reminds all of us that we're capable of some pretty great things and inspires us to keep the momentum going as we move forward into the next year."
Use Performance to Set Strategy
Who: Bret Bonnet, co-owner and founder of Quality Logo Products, an advertising specialties company
Year-End Strategy: "My favorite part about the year's end is forecasting and reviewing historical performance. I like to see how the numbers stack up compared to prior periods and measure whether or not any improvements we've made—both operationally and on our website—had an impact. This review, which often takes a week or two to complete, includes participation from all principles and any key outside partners."
Why This Fosters Growth: "While the ideas and plans drafted during this review often change countless times in the year ahead, setting the goal/destination is more important than how you get there."
Who: Amy Ho, marketing and special events director at Chalk Point Kitchen
Year-End Strategy: "For the restaurant, we've developed menus in the past that catered to Thanksgiving meals and get togethers that involved friends and family alike. We also have end of the year celebration packages in our bar so our customers can end the year with champagnes and customized mixed cocktails. We also take this time to engage our customers on a more personal note—remind them that this is the time to be thankful and spend time with loved ones. We also invite our entire staff, from directors to servers and bartenders, to attend our year-end events and ring in the new year with a bang."
Why This Fosters Growth: "The food and hospitality business blooms during the year end, and our events are another promise we make to our customers converting them from one-time visitors into regulars."
Who: Zachary Pousman, founder of digital products consultancy Helpfully
Year-End Strategy: "We don't wait until late December to set our personal goals for company culture. If someone wants to blog more, or draw every day, or learn a new skill, don't wait. Instead, set your intention and start your new behavior [now]."
Why This Fosters Growth: "When you get to December 31, you're already feeling a bit of momentum on the goal and you're not starting from scratch while on vacation or consumed with the holidays"
Now that you've read tips from various leaders across a wide range of industries, what's at the top of your personal strategy list?
While the calendar pages might roll, the new year will only truly shift when you become an active partner in the new year's outcome. And that can come from wrapping this year up with thought, analysis and a plan of action, and while that might take time, it could be the difference between growing your business in the year to come and bobbing along at status quo.
Read more articles on planning for growth.