Review the big picture of your business

When reviewing your business, at the beginning of the new financial year, the key is to focus on the 'big picture' rather than get bogged down in too much detail. Here is a five point checklist to follow:

Set your goals for the year. Be specific (but brief) so you can work towards them. What will be your strategic plan to work towards those goals and who will be responsible for implementing them?

Set up a budget to keep your financial outcomes accountable. Consider 'backward engineering' your budget where you decide on the profit you would like for the year first. Deduct this profit from your anticipated sales to determine the amounts of funds you have available for expenses. Then be disciplined to keep within this expense constraint.

Work out how your cash will flow throughout the year. Is an overdraft required at any time during the year, when the cash is tight? If so, it's best to sort it out before it's needed.

Are there costs that need tightening i.e. pick your five largest costs and see if they can be reduced. If you don't control costs at the beginning of the year, it is harder to adjust as the year goes on to ensure you achieve your budget targets.

Review your pricing. If appropriate, let your customers know in writing that they should expect an increase before they receive their next invoice and outline the reason why. Remind them what additional services you can offer them.

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