Fall is officially here, and while many use this time to enjoy the cooler weather and cheer on their favorite sports team, as a business owner, you’re likely strategizing for the upcoming year. Having a productive planning season is crucial for setting the tone of what you want to accomplish in the near future. It’s the ideal time to evaluate your business priorities and determine what’s working and what’s not so that improvements can be made.
What does your business focus on during planning season? Responses will differ from business to business, but there are several common discussion topics that should make the list, such as:
- Did your business reach its financial goals this past year?
- Did your business grow how you had envisioned, or is it feeling stagnant?
- Are you confident in your business’s recruiting and retention best practices?
- When’s the last time you talked with your tax advisor? If you don’t have one, are you still able to handle tax planning yourself, or is it taking too much time away from running your business?
- Is your current technology stack still the right fit for your business?
- Are your systems designed to scale and adapt to meet your changing needs, or have they become a source of frustration and process bottlenecks?
If you’re aiming to get more out of your planning season but aren’t sure how, here are six top considerations to set your planning season up for success.
How is your business doing?
Before you plan for the year ahead, it’s important to have a firm grasp on how your business performed the prior year as well as where it currently stands. Take time to evaluate your business’s processes and overall performance so that you can determine areas that are excelling and where there are opportunities for improvement. Having accurate and timely data on hand to measure and track your business’s top metrics is key to making informed decisions for the future.
Did you hit your numbers?
Planning season is when you should dive into your business’s financials and assess your budgets to see if your business is prospering or if cuts are needed. Having a clear view of your organization’s health is critical for creating effective business plans. If your business is experiencing growth, you should also consider if your current business operations are built to scale in order to align with your growth rate.
Do you have the right people in the right seats?
For a business to achieve sustained success, it needs the right talent. Use time during planning season to analyze your recruiting strategy, staffing numbers and turnover rate. Based on your findings, you’ll be able to shift your hiring and retaining efforts accordingly for the new year. If you don’t have a sufficient way to pull this information, there are HR software options out there that can provide you with the reports and insights you’ll need.
Are you using your tax planning strategy to its fullest?
Reaching out to a tax advisor during planning season is recommended to confirm your tax planning strategy is up to date and compliant. An advisor can also ensure you’re optimizing your tax benefits and reducing your business’s overall tax burden.
Is your technology working for or against your business?
As you evaluate your business’s budget for the upcoming year, consider your technology stack and whether it may be time to allocate funds for an upgrade. Whether it’s exploring new software options for enterprise resource planning, payroll, accounting or other, there are options on the market that can streamline a number of business areas. If new software isn’t in the cards for you, planning season is also a terrific time to assess your information security measures to identify potential vulnerabilities and address them. Keeping your data secure is essential for minimizing risk and running a reputable business.
Does outsourcing make sense?
When going through your business priorities this planning season, another possibility you may want to consider is outsourcing. If you have a vision for a certain area of your business that you’re struggling to make a reality, there are outsourcing options available to assist you. Outsourcing typically makes sense if you’re lacking personnel or capacity to effectively manage, maintain and grow a business area. When searching for an outsourced provider, be sure they offer the flexibility and expertise you need to address your business’s unique goals.
At Creative Planning Business Services, we have a comprehensive suite of services designed to take your business to the next level. From tax advisory and payroll services to managed IT and business consulting, we have the solutions to help tackle your business’s biggest challenges. Schedule a meeting with our team today to learn more about what we can do for your business this planning season.