Christmas is around the corner and another year is drawing to a close. Although the financial year will continue for a few months, the end of the calendar year is still significant in the eyes of many business owners and their employees.
The end of the year is a chance to celebrate, evaluate and prepare for the future. To help you work out what needs doing, we’ve put together an end of year checklist that will give you some ideas.
Celebrate what you have already achieved
There’s no better way to finish the year on a higher and boost morale than celebrating your team’s successes. What this looks like depends in some extent to your management style and the culture of your workplace.
As a baseline, it is important to make sure that hard-working individuals know that you value them and you are pleased with their work. This could be as simple as a one-to-one conversation, or it could be more public.
One way to celebrate success in a more public way could be to email everyone in the company with a summary of the year that highlights key achievements and the teams or individuals that were responsible for them, whilst making it clear that the whole company has performed well. Even if it hasn’t been a stellar year for you, there will be things that you can talk about that will give your employees a morale boost as they go home for Christmas.
Review your performance and set goals
While you’re thinking about the successes of the year, it’s also a good idea to evaluate the last 12 months as a whole and think about where you might go next year. Some of this could be communicated to the whole team, but the most important thing is for you to start getting a plan together for the new year.
If you’ve missed the goals that you set yourself, why have you missed them? What steps can be taken to ensure that you meet them next year?
If you’ve exceeded your goals, what went well? What can still be improved on? And what goals can you set that will keep your company on an upward trajectory for the next 12 months?
It’s good for your team to be aware of how the business has been performing, but there’s only so much that they will want to think about before Christmas – consider saving news about changes and major new goals until they come back in the new year.
Be proactive about customer relations
As you go through the process of reviewing and goal-setting, it can be easy to let other things slip. However, Christmas is an excellent time of year to reach out to your customers and let them know that you have enjoyed working with them, and that you are looking forward to a continued relationship next year.
Depending on what kind of business you are, this will look different. If you have a small number of high value customers, then personalised cards and even small gifts can be a fantastic gesture in the run up to Christmas.
If, on the other hand, you’re an ecommerce business with hundreds or thousands of customers, sending them all a card might not be practical. Instead, consider emailing your loyal customers and thanking them for their continued support with a festive offer. Perhaps you can give them discounts on Christmas items, or offer them a voucher code as a Christmas present that they can redeem in the New Year when cash is tighter.
Sort through your leads, lapsed clients and existing customers
While you’re thanking your loyal customers, it’s also a good time to look through your leads or lapsed customers from the last year. Though these may not have been a source of income thus far, there is no reason why they can’t be in the new year.
Once you have worked out who you need to target, you’ll be in a great position to start the new year strongly by reaching out to these people. You don’t necessarily need to do anything with the list at the moment, but it will save you time next year, allowing you to focus on the outreach itself once Christmas has been and gone.
The final and most important thing to do at the end of the year is rest. Nothing will prepare you and your employees for the new year more than taking time to recharge over the Christmas period.
Spending time with family and friends is obviously a big part of the festive season, but don’t be afraid to seek out some time for yourself as well. Take the chance to catch up on sleep and have some lie ins, and just do whatever makes you feel rested. If that’s reading, then read. If it’s jogging, then jog. If it’s watching films, then watch films.
Everything that we’ve already talked about will count for nothing if you burn yourself out with work throughout December. Whether you’ve had a great year or a terrible year, resting up will stand you in good stead for a strong 2017.