On this page
- Financial performance
- Business plan for next year
- Profit and loss budget and cash flow forecast
Yes, it's a busy time of year but a little bit of pre-planning now will mean next year will be a successful one. Use our list of top three things to work on to focus your efforts.
Review financial performance
Measuring the performance of your business will ensure that you know what to do when planning for the new year.
How to do it
- prepare financial statements for the last three months
- compare to previous quarter or season in your own business and other businesses in same industry
- note favourable and unfavourable trends and make an action plan for the next three months.
- gather information about your market. Knowing the key characteristics of your target market will help you to find the most effective way to develop a marketing strategy and reach your target clients
- review sales data to understand repeat customers behaviour
- for each marketing strategy, have action plans in place that nominate who is responsible and the timing of each action
- implement performance measures to monitor the success of each marketing strategy you implement
- undertake a cost/benefit review of each marketing strategy to ensure that there are profit and cash flow benefits to the business.
Prepare a business plan for next year
Setting business goals will keep everyone in the business focused on the important areas for success.
How to do it
- review the operations and financial results from the last year and prepare a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
- make a list of where you would like to see your business in one year's time
- prepare action plans for each item on your list and allocate responsibility and timing for completion of each action
- update your existing plan with this fresh information, or create a new plan using our free business plan template.
When updating your business plan:
- research your industry, looking for trends and opportunities to grow your business
- involve your staff as they may have suggestions for improvement and they will be more likely to support the new plans if they are involved in the development
- look at your financial results critically and identify areas where improvements in income and expenses can be made.
Review your profit and loss budget and cash flow forecast
How to do it
- compare the last six months' profit and loss results against budgeted profit and loss for the same time period
- note any variances and review any unfavourable results and document actions to rectify these issues
- decide if your profit and loss budget is still achievable, if not redo a new profit and loss budget
- review your cash flow forecast in line with expectations for the next six months and ensure that you will have adequate cash flow to support your business.
When reviewing your profit and loss budget and cash flow forecast:
- aim for more regular reviews (e.g. monthly) to identify problems earlier and allow more time to fix any issues identified
- note down the variances when comparing actual results to anticipated results for both the budget and forecast. Where issues are identified, make an action plan. For example, if sales revenue collected is less than expected, chase up outstanding payments
- prepare separate profit and loss budgets and/or cash flow forecasts for specific larger projects
- review the assumptions used when you prepared your profit and loss budget and cash flow forecast, as situations and expectations may have changed and this may easily explain any variances noted.
Want a financial reminder in January?
Sign up for the Small Business Victoria update to receive fortnightly tips, trends and tasks. It will include our handy financial improvement tasks for January.