Take Advantage of September, the Second New Year
Capitalize on the renewed focus of fall to refresh your business this September.
As summer ends and stores stock their shelves with school supplies, September can feel like a fresh start for many small business owners. For some businesses, October 1 marks the start of a new fiscal year. For others, September is a great time to bolster employee morale and shore up the systems that will carry their businesses into the hectic holiday season. Follow these tips and make the most of your September refresh.
Review your strategic plan
Before you can tackle any planning or reorganization, your first priority should be reviewing your business’ strategic plan. “If you don’t have one, make this a top priority to create a plan that will serve as the foundation of your annual goals,” says Chuck Sinks, senior business adviser at CDC Small Business Finance in San Diego.
September is the time to examine the big picture – where you are now, where you want your business to go, and whether you’re on track to getting there. “Once your plan is in place, you can evaluate your tactics and objectives and confirm that they are helping to move your organization toward your larger strategic vision,” Sinks says.
Evaluate employee progress and goals
September is also a good time to check in with employees to ensure that they are setting and meeting goals. “If you don't already have this type of goal setting, September is a great time to start this process as it coincides perfectly with the calendar year,” says Marc Prosser, co-founder and managing partner of Fit Small Business in New York.
Prosser recommends quarterly mini-reviews to help employees stay engaged and proactively handle potential issues without letting an entire year pass between reviews. “Goals are set for every three months with monthly progress reviews,” he says. “We think three months is the perfect timeframe as it’s long enough to have significant progress and short enough that the ‘day of reckoning’ is not some time in the distant future.”
Update processes, documents, and brand identity
As you review your strategic plan and employee productivity, evaluate how your business’ processes are functioning and look over frequently used forms, contracts, and other documentation to update if necessary.
Amanda Slavin, CEO and founder of CatalystCreativ in Las Vegas, says it can be easy to neglect crucial internal processes when you are focused on customer and client needs. “For five years, we have been so focused on so many other companies and other startups' growth that we have not had the time for our own,” she says.
Use the renewed focus of fall to motivate employees to shift their focus internally before holiday business – and malaise – kick in. “Through September, we are focusing on reenergizing our team by creating streamlined internal processes, on-boarding materials, and value setting while also working on an entirely new external presence,” Slavin says.
*NFIB, Written by Karen Sams
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