Many businesses find the year’s end the best time to strategize

End of year reflections

When it comes to the end of the year, many business owners do a lot of reflection. It’s a great time to sit back and take stock in how productive a year has been, whether or not goals have been achieved and how the coming year’s performance is projected. Tweaking a business plan is the perfect way for owners to get back on track with their goals and take the changing market into account. One of the biggest advantages to reflecting during at the end of the year is it’s traditionally when the market slows down. The Christmas season stretches most people’s budgets and slows down commerce. It’s that slowdown that affords business owners the opportunity to regroup.

One business owner’s predicament

Amber O’Neal owns Café Physique LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. The company has been around since 2006 and it offers clients nutritional and fitness coaching. Though she began as an in-home consultant, O’Neal opened a small fitness studio in 2008 when her business flourished. Once the recession hit its highpoint, however, she was forced to reassess her business model. She confirmed that in 2009, “everything slowed down.” The good news was that for the most part, her in-home clients maintained their schedules. On the down side, her studio was “losing thousands of dollars every month.” In the end, her decision was to transition back to an in-home consultant and work on that aspect of her business, rather than force a dying studio.

Difficult decisions have to be made

Like O’Neal, many business owners find themselves having to make hard decisions. Another difficult topic is for owners to monitor the best marketing strategies. Brian Iannone, of CBIZ, said, “The first quarter of 2010 should have moderate improvements, so now it is important to listen to customers and position for what they want to buy. If you can anticipate that, you can ride the uptick and get more market share in the process.” Experts warn that if a complicated decision needs to be made, business owners need to be smart enough to carry it through.

Iannone added, “Marketing is crucial to a business’ growth. Finding out who your customers are and how to reach them is important.” For example, Matthew Vuturo owns a small manufacturing company. His marketing goals for 2010 are to expand the company via establishing a solid web presence through vignettes. He sees the benefit of social marketing and is embarking on a hefty plan to capitalize on it.

Setting new goals at year’s end

Setting new goals for a company at the year’s end is a great idea for business owners. Once the Christmas season is over, many businesses have a downtime. Though the fiscal year may not be done, it normally is when about half the business year is over. It’s enough time to gather data, research and extrapolate on findings. For businesses to be successful in 2010, it’s crucial that they look to past performance. Iannone said, “The market changes, but past performance can let you know if you are in tune with the market, or if you have to go back to the drawing board completely.”

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