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Whether or not you are one for New Year’s resolutions, January is the perfect time to reflect, reset and review business goals. While different industries work to different calendars, the beginning of the year is always a great opportunity to establish a vision for the coming 12 months, while also bringing your company back together. That said, between the downtime of December and the hectic first week back, it can be easy to overlook some essentials, so here’s a quick task list every business should tackle to kick off the new year.
1. Hold a company offsite for team bonding
Now that so many employees are back from different holiday schedules, it’s important to make sure that everyone is on the same page — especially when email boxes are likely overwhelmed, passwords forgotten, etc. One of the best ways to ease back is to give the team a company offsite day to catch up, bond and shake off January “scarys.”
Think of this as an opportunity to also align on big ideas for the coming year, and put together a plan to make them happen. To do this best, it’s preferable to remove yourself from familiar surroundings like the office, or even your home city. Taking time away with the team is one of the best ways to build culture, morale and alignment.
2. Complete your accounting and KPI reconciliation
A reflection on the previous calendar usually coincides with excitement for what the next 12 months might bring, including an abundance of ideas about where to devote finances and how they should be prioritized. There’s no better way to feel refreshed and ready than to tie up the accounting and close the books; this might mean paying or chasing outstanding invoices, recording end of year expenses and reviewing external contracts.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) is thrown around as a bit of a buzz-phrase throughout the year, until you get to the point where you actually have to evaluate if they have been met, because reviewing your KPIs and finances together is important in ensuring that realistic, measurable goals for the year are backed up by numbers. This is also a good opportunity to reflect on whether you have been reviewing your KPIs frequently enough, which also means taking an objective look at your business to understand where you are succeeding and where you’re having challenges. This helps to prioritize what are the most immediate opportunities for your company and for your team.
3. Build your year’s budget
Once you have a clearer idea of how the company performed over the last 12 months, it’s time to start budgeting for the next dozen. This is the perfect opportunity to ask if there are areas where you can scale back and/or if there’s something more pressing that could be made a priority. This might be a project you have been putting on the back burner until you closed the books, but is finally ready to be launched. Your budget is inevitably tied to everything you do, so going into the near year with a realistic idea of what’s achievable will help keep you aware of goals that are within reach. It’s also a good time to also look for opportunities to put more money into employees, whether in the form of salary, paid time off or perks.
4. Present a year-end recap
Once plans are solidified, senior management is on the same page, the books are updated and your KPIs are accounted for, it’s time to get the rest of the company updated. You can put together a year-end presentation, combined with the plans for the rest of the year. The best businesses are the ones that win together and lose together, so by collectively identifying where your company had strengths and weaknesses, everyone can set goals.
While presentations can be both dry and slightly intimidating when outlined in numbers and charts, they can also be an opportunity to celebrate all the wins and the hard work of your staff. And remember the best presentations are conversations: they are engaging and bring in the entire team to contribute, which gets everyone involved and feeling as though they are part of the whole.
If 2020 and 2021 have shown us anything, it’s how quickly time can fly by, especially during unprecedented times, so this is the perfect time to get on top of things before this year starts getting away from you.