August has come and gone for another year, and while we hope you managed to take some time off (with tips on how to relax from our previous blog post) we’re starting to look ahead to the end of the calendar year. The Christmas countdowns already in the media may seem excessive, but what is certainly true is that the end of the year will be here sooner than we think, so we thought now would be a great time to look at what small businesses should be doing in the run up.

Evaluate

Now is the time to look at the business goals you set at the beginning of 2017 along with any benchmarks you have set. Assess how you are doing in relation to them, if you have exceeded or are on track, well done! Take the strategies that worked and earmark them for inclusion in next year’s plans. If you aren’t quite managing to hit these benchmarks, you still have four months to look at why your strategy isn’t working and make adjustments. Now is also a good time to evaluate your staff’s performance with regards to the business and talk to them about this, whether formally or informally. Many companies choose to do this at Christmas, but office parties and the upcoming festive break can often make it hard to communicate effectively.

Connect

It (almost) goes without saying that customers and clients make the business. So why not use the next four months to think of how to best thank your current customers; personalised cards and thoughtful gifts tend to make more of an impression than an generic email and organising this in the autumn means you will have plenty of time to get it right. Now is also a great time to look through any leads or clients you haven’t dealt with recently. Could they be a potential customer? If so, why not send them Christmas greeting and gift; a handwritten card along with business credit to use in the new year could be just the ticket to get them back.

Review

We know it’s the topic that no one likes to talk about, but there is never a bad time to look at your financial procedures. If your financial year ends with the calendar year, taking the time now to implement a weekly review and mark down deadlines could save any panicking come the end of the year. If your business’s year end is in sync with HMRC’s, now is the time to see if you could make your financial reporting more efficient through digitisation and the implementation of cloud storage. We found this article provided a great in depth look at preparing for the financial year end.

We hope that you found our tips useful; we’d love to hear if you have any tips in the run up to Christmas!