It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through 2023, isn’t it?
These past six months have no doubt been eventful, and the start of summer is a great time to take a step back and conduct a mid-year business review.
A year can fly by, but the truth is, twelve months is a long time. A lot can happen in a business in twelve months. We’ve huge advocates for instituting a mid-year check-in to assess where you’ve been, where you’d like to go, and how you’re going to get there.
First, let’s talk about how to approach your mid-year check-in.
Preparing for Your Mid-Year Review
First things first, you need to adopt the right mindset before you tackle your mid-year business review.
Take a moment to centre yourself and get into a calm headspace. A mid-year review is most effective when you’re able to look at your business objectively, which, let’s face it, can be difficult when you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into it. Schedule a block of time for your review ahead of time and make sure that when that time comes, you’re prepared to approach the task with a clear head.
It’s also helpful to adopt the right approach to your mid-year review. Keep in mind that this is all about reflecting upon the goings on of the first half of the year, comparing that trajectory to your overarching goals for the year, and making any necessary changes so that your actions and decisions over the next six months are conducive to achieving those goals.
Our previous blog post, How to Conduct an Effective Quarterly Business Review, talks all about this process.
Now that you’re prepared to tackle your business review from a place of clarity and intention, let’s talk specifics. Here are the aspects of your business that ought to be reviewed at this point in the year:
Cash flow is the backbone of any business, and it warrants attention.
Generally speaking, a consistently positive cash flow is a great place to be. If your business isn’t quite there yet, this mid-year check-in is a great time to reflect on the ups and downs of your cash flow and determine what factors are influencing those fluctuations and what changes you could potentially implement to improve your cash flow.
For instance, if your business is seasonal (like a landscaping business for example), you can optimize your priorities in your busy season and your off-season to improve your overall operations.
If you’ve already got a positive cash flow, that’s fantastic! Take this opportunity to dive a little deeper in the cash flow analysis and review your individual expenses and sources of revenue. What can be tweaked to optimize cash flow? What changes can you make to reduce expenses, increase revenue, or build a strong reliable cash flow each month?
Remember, if you need some assistance in analyzing your cash flow let us know, we would be happy to help.
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes!
Taxes are every business owner’s favourite thing, right? Not quite. But unfortunately, the ‘sweep it under the rug’ approach doesn’t tend to yield very good results.
Take this mid-year opportunity to review your taxes and make sure everything is as it should be. Double check the important dates you have on file, and ensure that all of your forms and documents are accurate and organized. You may also want to use this time to explore any potential tax benefits that might apply to your business.
This stage can be tedious, or it can be simple. When you use a cloud accounting and bookkeeping firm like AIS Solutions, you can kick back and relax while we handle all of the heavy lifting. You can also run through our Tax Saving Tips to make sure that you’re checking all the right boxes!
No matter how streamlined and successful your business may be, you’re sure to have run into some obstacles over the past six months. Or alternatively, maybe you have some obstacles that you can see coming your way in the not-so-far-off future.
Obstacles can be frustrating as a business owner, and it can make it difficult to look at things in a way that’s productive (remember how we said it’s tricky to stay objective?). Use this mid-year business review as a chance to take emotion out of the equation and intentionally review your obstacles from a purely pragmatic perspective.
Why do you encounter these obstacles? Are they avoidable? If not, can they be reduced? Is there any way to use this as an advantage? What can be learned from the experience?
Running into obstacles is an unavoidable part of doing business, but the way that you navigate and learn from them can have a huge impact on your overall success.
Goals and Accountability
You undoubtedly have goals. Of course, those goals will be a substantial part of any business review. But what about accountability?
Note: Need some help setting actionable goals? Check out our Goal Setting Workbook.
Surely you’ll be taking a look at the goals you’ve achieved this year so far, and how you’ve progressed toward your larger, longer-term goals. You’ll look at the areas where you may have veered off course, and you’ll take into account any new goals that may have popped up along the way.
We suggest that you also take care to look at your system of accountability. Sure, you have these goals, but how are you keeping yourself accountable? How are you keeping your team on-track?
You might want to consider implementing office incentives to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize and create a sense of teamwork. These should be lighthearted and fun, ideally. Increase employee satisfaction and company culture, strengthen the team bond, and stay focused on business goals, all in one go.
And what about you, personally? If you don’t already have one, consider implementing an unofficial ‘board of advisors.’ This could be anyone – colleagues, friends, family, your favourite neighbour… it doesn’t matter. Anyone that you can talk to on a monthly or quarterly basis and tell them about your goals who will follow up later on and ask you how you’re progressing. It’s simple, but implementing this aspect of accountability is a fantastic way to keep yourself on-track and moving forward.
Finally, cut yourself some slack. If you’re even taking the time to sit down and conduct a mid-year review, chances are your priorities are where they should be and you’re well on your way to achieving your goals.
Don’t forget that the goal here (and in life in general) is progress, not perfection. We all have setbacks, and we all get distracted from time to time. What’s important is that we keep moving forward.
AIS Solutions is here to help small businesses in Canada find success through training, resources, and professional accounting and bookkeeping services. Contact us today to find out more!