Dear Business Owner:
Can you guess what the most successful business owners are doing on this last day of 2012.? No, they are not watching others make news on TV or social media. They are not among the loads of people waiting idly to ring in the new year in New York City’s Times Square either. They are taking stock, expanding their network and fine tuning their million dollar plans. And it’s not too late to get on board that train.
If you deal in physical goods, today is a good day to do a count and put a value on the items you are carrying over to 2013. Beyond counting, you should check to see if there are obsolete or slow moving items so you can draw up solid plans to clear this before stocking up after the holidays. Are there exciting promotions you can use to entice customers to buy the chicken, turkey and sheep left over from Eid and Christmas? Get creative and hit the ground running tomorrow.
Taking stock however goes beyond inventory observation, this is the best time to review your business activities for 2012 and answer basic questions such as:
- Did your business meet its sales target for 2012? If Yes, how did you do it? If not, where did you go wrong? Can the goals for 2013 be higher? Come on, challenge yourself!
- What was your net margin in 2012. This is (Sales – Total Costs and expenses for the year)/Sales X 100%. Are you satisfied with this margin? Or can you do better? If this amount is a negative number, contact me via this page so that we can both ascertain that you are using the right numbers and I can help you come up with a good strategy to increase sales and/or reduce costs.
Whatever you do, don’t close the chapter on this year without closing your books even if it takes the entire month of January 2013 to finish this exercise. You will be doing yourself and your business a world of good by being well informed and better positioned for greater success.
Fine tuning their million dollar plans
Just like many individuals make new year resolutions, successful business owners do same by planning, not day dreaming. What is the difference between planning and day dreaming? A plan is a combination of simple, clear and measurable goals backed up by numbers. In short, a plan is your goals documented in your budget. Without a budget, all your elaborate marketing plans mean nothing. A budget will force you to set the right prices, understand your costs, competition and customers. It will help you determine which plans to pursue and which to cancel or delay. And a budget will help you hold yourself and your employees accountable during the year. A day dream is just wishes that are not backed up by budgets and documents.
You should however not stop after ascribing numbers to your planned business activities. Take the next step by using expanding your network today. If you are on social media or at Times Square, why not make these work for you by expanding your network of potential customers. You never know who is standing next to you or who may share that million dollar message you are about to put out!
I wish you a successful 2013.
Happy New Year!