Is your business on-track to achieve the goals you had in mind when the year began?
While these last months can be busy for business owners trying to finish the year strong, it is also important to dedicate time to outlining a plan that will provide for a successful 2013.
With this in mind, I would suggest the following…
Closing Out 2012
Take stock on ways in which expectations were exceeded as well as any shortcomings. How can these findings be used to better plan for 2013?
Perhaps success in one area should warrant a slight change in overall positioning or strategy. Or maybe with a little more attention, the component of your business that is not currently meeting expectations can be brought in-line over the year’s final months.
Also, begin considering what the big “takeaways” are from the year and how those can map into your overall goals and strategies for 2013.
What does your ideal 2013 look like? The trick is to set goals that strike a balance between being aggressive and realistic. Map the various metrics you are striving for (i.e. revenue, net income, etc.) across each month. Do you expect them to be the same in each period or do they scale-up throughout the year?
Are you currently aligned in the most beneficial manner for addressing your ideal model? Every component of your business – sales, marketing, operational structure, etc. – should be organized in a way that best helps to meet your monthly targets.
Once you have synthesized your monthly goals into a yearlong model, you now have the roadmap to drive your business throughout 2013. Of course it will only get you to your destination if you track against it regularly. Determine how to stay on-top of your progress throughout the year and who will own this reporting.
Find a time for a weekly meeting with key executives and make sure that this becomes an institutionalized practice. Not only will it keep everything on-track, it will also highlight individual deliverables – providing the all-important accountability that will be needed to meet your goals.
Did you find time in 2012 to address the long-term protection of your business? Succession planning, partnership agreements, key-executive insurance, and other valuable tools can be vital to the longevity of your organization. Identify potential areas of exposure and begin implementing solutions before the end of the year.
Also, now is a good time to review your benefit programs and make sure they are appropriately providing for you and your employees. Whether a company-sponsored retirement plan, group insurance, profitsharing plan, or perhaps a pool of earned equity, you want to make sure that you are appropriately incentivizing your staff and doing so in a way that makes sense for your business in the year to come.
Are you properly allocating and managing assets outside of your business? Whether planning for retirement, children/grandchildren’s education, or perhaps a key personal expense that is on the horizon, diversifying your portfolio beyond your business is of the utmost importance and not something you want to go another 12 months without addressing.
Perhaps this is one of the last years your income will allow you to take advantage of a ROTH IRA contribution or maybe you are above 50 and are able to make a catch-up contribution to your IRA.
Whether it is on your own, or with a trusted advisor, find time to plan accordingly and then stay on-top of your goals throughout the coming year. If you can do those two things, 2013 could most certainly be the year you have been waiting for.
Seth Salomon (firstname.lastname@example.org) specializes in strategic financial planning for business owners, individuals, and families. Seth returned to Lexington, KY after 14 years in Atlanta and New York City to join his father at Salomon & Co., a comprehensive wealth management group serving small businesses and families for over 38 years (securities and financial planning offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, member FINRA/SIPC). Seth holds a BA in International Economics from Emory University and an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or products may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.