At the end of the year, many businesses are already considering their business and marketing strategies for the following year. But what many overlook is the importance of reviewing the past year. Looking back to see how your company fared, whether you increased or decreased in revenue, and which marketing tactics worked (and which didn’t) is key when looking forward to the year ahead.
Start with the Books
The best indicator of how healthy your company is comes from your accounting “books” (funny how we still call them books when they’re all digitized now). Your accounting software likely lets you create reports such as:
- Profit and loss
- Income by client
- Balance Sheet
Spend some time with each of these reports, as they are a goldmine of information. From them, you can find out the average amount a client spends with you, who’s spending the most and what your expenses are.
Next, Examine Marketing
If you tried out a few new marketing tactics this year, now is the time to assess how well they fared. You may be surprised to find that several of your tried and true strategies brought fewer clients this year. Or that a new social media tool netted far more customers than you expected. Whatever the scenario, use this info to determine which marketing strategies you’ll keep in 2013 and which you might retire.
How Does Your Staff Look?
Interview your entire staff or heads of departments to get a temperature of how your company is doing in terms of staffing needs. If your staff is taking on too much, that will quickly become apparent. It’s easy to add an extra responsibility here and there without noticing that the work is piling up, so use this time to assess whether you need to hire more employees for the new year. You might not need more full-time workers; part-timers and freelancers are also a good option, especially if you have a few temporary projects coming up.
Focus on Financing
Next, look at your budget for 2012. Did you manage to come in at or under what you planned to spend? If you went over budget, you may need to cut back in 2013 on a few things. Now is the time to figure out where those cutbacks need to come from.
Also consider what you plan to spend money on in 2013. Are there large projects or expenses that you’ll need extra cash for? Don’t wait until you need to make the purchase: get a plan now to set aside profit each month so that the expense won’t hurt your bank account.
Ready for the New Year!
Now that you’ve taken time to assess how well your business has done in the past 12 months, you’re ready to start planning for next year. Remember: your business and marketing strategies can and will change, and that’s okay. As long as you have a handle on where your business is, it shouldn’t be difficult to tweak them as needed.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips andInternet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Small Business Trends, CorpNet, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
Photo: Sukanto Debnath on Flickr