One of the most common gripes I hear from bookkeeping business owners whom I mentor is that they seem to be fully entrenched in working for their clients’ businesses and could never find the time to work on their own bookkeeping businesses.

Is there a solution for that problem?

The short answer is YES. Yes, there is always time to work on your own business. But the longer answer is that you have to find the time. There are no two ways around it!

For many of us, the end-of-year period is when things seem to go quiet. Our clients shut down for Christmas and New Year, with many not going back into full operations until the last weeks of January. This is the best time for us to take a step back and zero in on our own businesses! Take this opportunity to reflect upon the year that was, and aspire towards the year that is to come. This will ensure that you start your new year feeling in control of your business and your life, no matter what curveballs get thrown your way.

Before you start planning for the new year, it is best to ensure that you have clear business goals in sight. Do you know what your business goals are? Is your current business model supporting those goals adequately? Revisit those goals, remind yourself again of what you are trying to achieve, then get started with some of these key things you can do to take control of your business planning before the new year!

#1: Financial Review

Here in Australia, our financial year doesn’t end until June 30. So many businesses don’t actually look at their finances until then. But it pays to take the time now to review your finances so you can plan ahead. Does it look like you’ll be earning more income than you had initially anticipated? If you are, perhaps now is a good time to purchase that new computer you need, to offset some of your payable tax and also take advantage of end-of-year sales. If it looks like your income is not going to reach your target, you should be looking at the possible reasons why, and to make a plan to improve sales and revenue in the new year.

#2: Staff Review

When a new year starts, the job market becomes inundated with job seekers. Mothers with newly school-aged children looking to get back to work, new university graduates looking for their first job, or people who are simply looking for new opportunities in the new year. So, before that happens, you should look at your own business to evaluate the need for new employees. Think about the trajectory of your business in the new year. Will hiring new employees help you to achieve the goals you’ve set? Will your clients benefit from you having more time to focus on added value that your business can provide them? It takes time to plan for a new employee – creating job descriptions, deciding on ideal candidate profiles, advertising, interviewing, evaluating, hiring, onboarding, etc. It will pay to start now!

#3: One Resolution

If you were to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and write down all the things you can/should/want to do within your business, how long will that list be? Too long, I assume! Here’s my suggestion… start small!

Make one simple resolution for your business that is realistic and precise, such as “We should have 4 new clients in the first half of the year”.

Next, think about what you need to do to get there. Now your to-do list now might look something like this:

  • Reassess my online brand – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google search, website, etc. Is it time for a new headshot? Should my website be refreshed? Which tools have worked and which haven’t?
  • Create promotional/marketing plan
  • Research networking platforms and groups in my local area
  • Research available conferences and industry trade shows for next year
  • Update employees’ skills
  • Update own skills and knowledge – industry blogs, magazines, books, etc
  • Organise office – paper files, digital files, documents, desktop, etc

Once you have this to-do list created, start systematically ticking them off. Delegate whatever you can to your team and create a plan to achieve your One Resolution. This way, when the clients get back into gear and things become hectic again, you already have a plan in place and a strategy to get it done. Don’t let your business take hold of you instead!

Take some time during this holiday period to ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go well this year?

If you answered these two questions as honestly as you can, you would have taken the first step towards planning for a better year next year.

Once you have, accept it and move on.

Don’t let yourself dwell on what has happened this year. Instead, use your reflections to ensure that you achieve your goals and resolutions in the new year.

If this exercise has you feeling overwhelmed, find yourself a mentor or an accountability partner. Someone who can talk you through it and help you see a clearer picture of your business.

As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, so get busy planning now!