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An End-of-Year Guide to Small Business Success in 2015

Pablo Picasso once said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” As 2014 comes to a close, it is time to think about how your business can achieve success in the New Year. Now is the perfect opportunity to create a vision and establish a cohesive plan to achieve next year’s goals.

Here is a 4 step guide to small business success in 2015:

  1. Get your books in order: Whether you have an accountant or manage your business’s finances personally, the first step to developing a comprehensive plan for the upcoming year is to make sure your finances are up to date. Review all of your credit card statements, bank account statements and receipts. Make sure that all of your business’s monetary actions have been itemized in your financial records and that this information can be easily reviewed all in one place. Updating your finances and making sure the information is organized and accessible will save you time and make preparing tax documents much less stressful.
  1. Analyze where your business is now: Now that you’ve brought your finances up to speed, you can analyze your updated balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements to get an overall outline of where your business currently stands. Reviewing your income statement will provide you with a general overview of how profitable the 2014 business year was, while your balance sheet and cash flow statement can be used to pinpoint your financial strengths and weaknesses. In addition to reviewing your finances, it is also important to reflect on what broader goals you may have met during 2014. Did you meet the growth percentages you set the previous year? How close are you to achieving the goals listed in your mission statement? Once you thoroughly evaluate your goals from this year, you can apply this knowledge on how to improve in 2015.
  1. Create a vision and a plan: Now that you have taken an in-depth look at your 2014 business year, it is time create a vision and a plan for 2015. One method for developing an all-inclusive plan for 2015 is to generate a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) analysis. For instance, maybe your company’s strength is that you have an amazing reputation in the market place, but your social media presence is weak. An opportunity may lie in expanding you market to an emerging niche, while a threat may be that your competitor is launching an expensive marketing campaign. Organizing your SWOT information into a diagram will allow your business to readily utilize this data to develop and manage a plan for improvement in 2015. Make sure to set both short term and long term goals, and that you assign specific dates for their completion.
  1. Communicate and keep at it: Finally, schedule an initial meeting with your staff to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of the plan you have developed for 2015. Assign responsibility for particular tasks to groups or individual staff members. Also, make sure to specify future dates for follow up meetings so that everyone remains informed of your business’s progress.

The end of the year can get exceptionally busy, but taking the time to plan for 2015 can only increase your chances of a prosperous year. Now is the time to set the stage for success!

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