As 2022 ends, it's natural to start thinking about how you've spent the last year. If you were as busy as we were at Black Girl Ventures, then I am sure your thoughts have centered on all your accomplishments this past year. While these accolades are worthy of celebration, there's another way to finish the year. When the festivities fizzle out, it's time to refocus. These activities may seem minor, but they can lead to great results in the months to come. Here are 8 essential activities to add to your end-of-the-year checklist.
#1 Evaluate Milestones and Goals
Every year, businesses set goals and milestones which they hope to achieve. Similar to a new year resolution we make for ourselves, goals and milestones give us a sense of direction and motivation. Evaluating these lets you see which goals you've hit and which targets you still need to reach. You will also be able to reflect on the challenges that your business experienced to understand how best to tackle them in the future.
#2 Acknowledge and Celebrate Your Clients & Staff
Whether it has been a good year or not, you're still in business. This means the people on the journey worked hard. For example, did your marketing team excel, or was your customer service department rocked? It's important to consider people like this for recognition by celebrating them.
There are many ways to go about this. And if you're a small business or startup, you can do it without breaking the bank. One simple idea is to make an announcement praising such hardworking individuals. Share the announcement in the office or on the company website. If there's an overflow in the budget, reward them with a bonus.
#3 Review Team Strategies and Procedures
Review your strategy and procedures. Ask what methods helped you achieve your goals. Were they cost-effective, for example, if the customer acquisition cost was less than the calculated customer lifetime value or not? How impactful were these methods?
This will provide a framework to advance your strategy and improve your productivity. It will lead you to modify or discard your existing business strategies. Or create several new strategies. An example of a new and popular business strategy is the adoption of Web 3.0 as a small business. Another idea is plan to become Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified.
#4 Follow up with Clients & Customers
More holidays are fast approaching, which means many business closures until the new year. Uncommunicated closures affect your customers and clients. They will need to know about your availability and product and service shifts. Following up with customers ensures they can access your products or services and reach your customer support while you're away for the holidays. For instance, you could send emails indicating your holiday hours and inform customers about seasonally available products or services. Be sure to send warm holiday greetings.
#5 Update Employee, Vendor & Client Information
A lot can happen in one year—and it usually does. It could be the death or resignation of an employee, the onboarding of new staff or team members, a partnership with a new client or vendor, etc. Update your vendor details.
The process of updating this vendor detail involves the following:
Cross-check names and contact information.
Confirm contract details, including expiration dates.
Verify new payroll information for salary changes.
Make sure that the data is stored safely.
This checklist item proves helpful in staying up to date with operational shifts. It also prevents unnecessary miscommunication around responsibilities and anticipated compensations.
#6 Perform Website Maintenance
Many solopreneurs need to pay more attention to their website maintenance. Remember that in today's world, a website is one of the first ways potential customers get to know your business. Imagine potential customers encountering slow-loading webpages, poor graphics, or other issues when accessing your website. These issues could deter customers from engaging further with your business.
#7 Backup Computers & Digital Data
The 21st century has many of us working digitally or, at least, employing some aspects of digital technology. The setback with this is the security risks with digital data. There is a high risk of data being compromised. For instance, when the user accidentally clicks on a link via phishing scams that trigger a virus.
Be sure to back up at least one copy of high-value documents to highly secure storage. Furthermore, consider converting digital files from easily-compromised formats to more secure forms through encryption and printing hard copies for local, physical storage.
#8 Conduct a Physical Inventory
A thoughtful entrepreneur will consider conducting an inventory around this time of the year. That way, they'll know what needs to be added, replaced, or discarded. An inventory check also allows you to analyze the cost of acquiring new inventory. It further reveals areas of developing and scaling, such as acquiring new staff or training existing employees to operate new inventory.
We've summarized these holiday season activities into 8 essential activities to add to your end-of-year checklist. They are simple to implement and also cost-effective. More importantly, they help you track your progress, develop productive strategies, maintain positive relationships, and safely store your data. When you implement this, you will sail through the holiday season and hit the ground running next year.