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Business planning for the new year

It’s a new year and maybe it’s business as usual for you but it’s time to set your goals and plans for the year ahead. It’s time to outline the purpose for your business to keep you and your team accountable.

Here’s a guide to what you should be thinking about right now with your management team and business adviser.

To look ahead, you first need to look back.

Now is the time to review the first half of FY2024 and discuss what’s working and what needs attention. Your business adviser can run a financial performance report to bring together all the numbers.

Once you know where your business is winning and where it fell short in the past six months, it’s time for the strategy.

A business strategy can be a boldly aspirational view of how to win in your market, or it can be steady as she goes, built on continuity and tweaking what is already serving you well.

February/March: Set the strategy to shape the business for the next one, two or five years. Work with your management team to do this, or bring in an external facilitator who can bring fresh eyes and thought-provoking questioning to the process.

Strategy setting incorporates analysing your competition, a SWOT analysis of your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and continuity planning.

The reality is that most people are in business to make money. You’re not going to succeed if you’re not on top of environmental factors – what’s happening in your industry, the broader economy, and with your competition.

What’s important is to set priorities. There is never enough time, money or resources to do everything but a well thought out strategy can help focus your attention on areas of your business that will provide the greatest return.

Strategy and the plans that fall out of it are also essential for the next stage of your life as a business owner, whether that’s preparing the business for sale in the future or in the case of a family-owned operation, succession by another family member.

Financial budgets March/April: Build a financial plan. Set and adjust as needed based on what budget you need to accomplish the plans emerging from your strategy.

Set or reset your management reporting for the new year in April/May: This includes KPIs and dashboards that visually represent key metrics for your business, comparing your business performance against industry benchmarks, and incorporating forecasting elements to project future performance.

Tax Planning – nobody wants the prospect of a surprise tax liability. It is essential that you understand your tax obligations for the financial year.

Arrange a tax planning meeting with your accountant to discuss your figures, plan the balance of the tax year and review any opportunities you can take advantage of before the end of the financial year.

We have put some loose time frames around the tasks above but ideally, they will all be done prior to June 30.

Ongoing steps:

It’s not all over once the new financial year begins. The ongoing phase involves the accomplishment and accountability side of the strategy. How are you measuring your success? How often will you revisit or reset your strategy or vision to keep it relevant to the markets you operate in and what you want to achieve?

Regular reviews and flexibility to change priorities if needed are important if you want to achieve growth and business continuity.

For help with any part of the business planning process, here are some of our team who can help.

Strategy & Accomplishment facilitation

• Martin Pike

• Simon Starr

Accounting & Business Advisory (Including budgets, management reporting, tax planning)

• Louisa Andreucci

Ring 1300 764 200 to arrange a meeting with someone in our team, or email and we will be in touch.

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