Will your business' year-end checklist ensure a strong finish?

Oct 22, 2013

Houston Business Journal https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/2013/10/will-your-businesss-year-end.html

Forbes magazine has lauded the Lone Star State for being America’s future. As the economy continues to boom here, Houston-area business leaders have a greater incentive to focus on leading their companies to a stronger year-end finish, paving the way for a robust 2014.

What you do today will impact your business performance for the remainder of the year and into next year, so make your efforts count. Here are some strategies and valuable tips that will help.

1. Plan. Assess this year’s sales activity and establish sales goals for next year. With solid sales goals, you can then develop budgets that will help ensure management accountability.

3. Clean up the balance sheet. Work through excess inventories, ramp up collections efforts, review your accounts receivable aging and meet often with project managers to manage costs. A healthy balance sheet ensures a good relationship with banks and will improve your ability to get financing next year.

4. Refresh your product offerings. Business can change fast. Are the goods and services you provide stale? Small tweaks can give a product new life, and adding a new service can make your firm more vibrant.

5. Gather intelligence on competitors. Chances are good you have lost business to a competitor this year. Find out why.

6. Look to add the right skill sets to your team. According to a global outlook survey conducted by Financial Executives International, 61 percent of CFOs plan to hire within the next six months, and very few anticipate employment reductions within the next year.

8. Evaluate health benefits. The fourth quarter is typically the time for open enrollment, so take a deeper look into employee participation, deductibles, co-pays and alternative carriers. A thorough review of options can make a big impact on health care costs and your bottom line.

9. Schedule maintenance and upgrades. For labor-intensive businesses like manufacturing, the fourth quarter is an important time to plan and schedule necessary maintenance.

10. Pay strict attention to the broader picture. Knowing what’s happening in the world from a government, regulatory and tax perspective determines how businesses will be affected in the coming year. Stay on top of the issues and be prepared to deal with the consequences now and down the road.

Take a step back and view your business from the outside in and adjust accordingly. The best approach any business leader can take to prepare for success is being proactive and planning carefully for a strong year-end finish and a smooth transition into the New Year.

Dan Corredor is managing partner of the Houston practice of Hardesty LLC, a national executive services firm focused on the office of the CFO. More information on Hardesty LLC can be found at www.HardestyLLC.com.