In the blink of an eye, 2016’s come and gone. So much has happened in the business world, and probably in your life too. Now’s the time to plan a way forward.
All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
This past year in my view has probably proven to be the most challenging one for many entrepreneurs. The business climate has been particularly harsh on multiple fronts. But, just as diamonds are not formed in mild conditions, the most valuable reflections of a year gone by in business are moulded in the face of adversity:
Some core reflections you should ponder now
1. Critically assess your debtor book
Some key considerations in this process will include:
- Has the number of debtors increased or decreased in the last year, and why?
- When last have you reviewed your payment term offered to customers?
Whether your debtor book has substantially increased and you have recently reviewed the payment terms you offer to customers should be a key consideration or objective in the new year.
2. Critically assess your business’ BBBEE rating
- Have you been verified in terms of the new codes? If yes, how has your rating been affected compared to the last verification?
In the instance where your rating has been adversely affected, the assistance of a suitably qualified empowerment professional in the coming year should be a high priority. If you have not yet been verified, addressing BBBEE as part of the overall business strategy is imperative to your business’ long term success.
Related: You, your customers and BBBEE
3. Critically assess your largest source of revenue
- Where is the bulk of your business coming from? How did you get that business?
It is important that you know who your customers are and how to reach them. Which marketing efforts are required and what the cost will be in the coming year. How many of these customers and their continued business is required in the coming year in order to ensure that your business does not only survive but thrive? This is key in effective budget planning.
4. Critically assess supplier relations as it pertains to delivering your product or service
- Which suppliers added value to your business as measured by price charged, and product, or service delivered in exchange? Which suppliers have been engaged on terms that have been honoured by both parties?
Supplier arrangements are often underrated. Businesses often fail to see how ineffective arrangements actually prevent effective business growth and development. It is crucial to assess not only which suppliers are valuable for your preferential procurement score, but also which ones remain valuable in delivering their goods or services to your businesses. Do your suppliers share the same loyalty as you? Are there better rates or quality?
Related: How can I find the right suppliers for my business?
Your customers are the best yardstick of true reflection and effective change management. So, the most crucial of all reflections would be to obtain customer feedback. Talk to them. Who is happy and why? Which customers are unhappy? How did you manage complaints, and what did you do when customers were satisfied?
Once you have reflected – plan 2017 in confidence, so that the diamond created in 2016 will shine and prosper.