When was the last time you reviewed your business? Every owner should conduct an extensive review at least once a year to stay on track. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a small firm or a large corporation – every business benefits from a solid plan of attack. Annual reviews allow you to evaluate what practices are currently in place, whether they’re working out and what direction the business is going in.
These ‘checks and balances’ encourage new business growth, keep all key staff on the same page and ensure customer revenue is boosted. All successful corporations plan ahead. But before you can move forward, you must look back. This reflection upon the last year offers vital insights into all angles of the business. Without it, it’s impossible to understand what changes should be made in order to succeed.
Encourage Better Business Control
Annual business reviews encourage business control by pushing you in the right direction. If parts of your firm aren’t operating at its peak, it’s only a matter of time before things start heading down the wrong track. For a business to be successful, owners must take charge as soon as they notice something slipping. Reviewing practices on a regular basis will keep your finger on the pulse and pick up any changes that could be detrimental long term. If you notice business is slowing down with employee relations, manufacturing, financial resources or technological advancements – now is the perfect opportunity to turn it around.
Review Insurance and Agreements
Agreements need regular check-ups to determine if you’re still paying for or using the right plans. Insurance policies are a good place to start. Business insurance is paramount but you want to ensure your current policy still reflects what you need. It’s incredible how much money can be wasted in wrong insurance plans. Most companies will get something basic in the start-up phase and forget to review them later. Insurance premiums grow every year so use this time to compare quotes and plans. Make sure you have the right insurance policy for your business too. As your corporation grows, so does your need for different insurance plans.
Other agreements like your lease and advertising contacts need to be reviewed too. Are the finer details being handled properly? Are you renewing old advertising plans that might not be relevant anymore? What advertising agreements are you benefiting from and what ones can be eliminated to cut costs? Taking the time to evaluate these contracts properly will eliminate any price rises you’ve missed and confirm marketing dollars are being invested wisely.
Assess Profits and Revenues
Determine if there’s been any drops in profits and revenue. If there has, you need to review all potential reasons as to why income has dropped. This will give you the best platform to push for an increase and determine what needs to be changed to promote success. There should be no surprises when it comes to profits and revenues. Annual business reviews give you the opportunity to step back and review things properly and create a plan to accommodate.
Whilst this information needs to be in an annual review, it won’t hurt to evaluate profits and revenues monthly. This will give a better understanding of what areas need to be improved before they become catastrophic and time to address any concerns quickly. On the flip side, if profits are growing significantly review why this is the case and make sure you keep implementing the techniques that are working!
Evaluate Legal and Tax Needs
Every successful business has legal requirements. Use your annual review to ensure all the legal aspects of the firm are up-to-date. Go over everything with a fine-tooth comb to confirm all documents are filed with corresponding agencies. Evaluate how your taxes are and keep accounts up to date. As a business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day jobs and let legal and tax work slide. Hire a professional accountant to look after your taxes and keep all lines of communication open with them to guarantee work is handled accordingly. Record keeping is vital for all businesses – stay on top of it early to avoid problems down the track.
Apply Past Learning for Future Success
The best way for business to be ooze success is to apply past learning. It’s tempting to focus on what’s happening now or make big plans for the future. But if you’re not utilising past knowledge to get there you’re pretty much starting from scratch. Move onto the next year with a solid plan in place. Review success and misses from the prior year and brainstorm effective ways as a team to project forward. What lessons were learnt from the year before? What can be changed to help your business grow? From the insights and data you pull together from your previous review, you can create a plan for the upcoming year.
An annual review is the perfect opportunity to take a step back from your business and look at things through a fresh set of eyes. Start implementing a regular review today.
About the author
Jayde Ferguson is a writer for Phoenix Insurance Brokers – a Western Australia licenced firm providing insurance advice to businesses. You can catch her on Google+.