Entrepreneurs take on the challenge of establishing and growing a business endeavor to achieve financial success, launch a new technology, share new methods for handling activities or provide services, entertainment, and information that are in demand.
Everyone who steps into the realm of entrepreneurship does so by taking on considerable financial risk, giving up significant personal time and pouring in tremendous effort to see their business plan go from paper to reality.
We often look at the rewards of entrepreneurship and overlook the enormous investment and potential for loss and failure that goes into these endeavors. But, those who choose to pursue an entrepreneurship opportunity must stay keenly aware of everything they have at stake.
Therefore as 2019 year-end rapidly approaches, here are five (5) things all entrepreneurs should do to close out their year with momentum to propel them into 2020.
1. Health Assessments: Business
For companies that carry products or goods, inventory is usually a big part of their end of year activities. But, all entrepreneurs, regardless of whether their business is product or service-based, need to “take stock” of what they have and what they need. Specifically, there are several evaluation activities that can yield significant benefits in the coming year.
For example, review your mission to ensure that it genuinely meets the plans, interests, and desires you had when you started your business. Assess your business performance to ensure that there are growing markets and demand for the products and services you offer. Each of these activities can guide the steps you take in the coming year and likely yield positive results.
While you are evaluating your business mission and model as well as comparing target accomplishments to actual accomplishments, you should also assess the staff or your advisors/inner circle. But this review should not merely look at whether they performed according to some agreed-upon objectives from the year before.
Instead, your evaluation should focus on their skillsets, abilities, interests, contacts, and how these items mesh with the needs or direction you define after you complete your assessment of the mission, business performance, and market need.
Your business talent evaluation is essential because if your business moves in a new direction or takes on additional activities, you may find that you need to change the make-up of resources, skillsets, and contacts to make things work.
2. Health Assessments: Personal
As an entrepreneur, you breathe life into your ideas to make them become realities. Just as you need to ensure that your business is in the best shape, you also need to ensure that you (personally) are in the best shape: physically, mentally, and emotionally.
So, I suggest that entrepreneurs invest some time in getting the appropriate health assessments to ensure you are fit and ready for the work that lies ahead. In addition to evaluating your health, take some time to rest, relax, decompress, and release stress.
Find time and activities to laugh, smile and enjoy friends or family. If you take these steps, I believe you will find yourself entering the new year energize or at the very least, better prepared for the journey!
3. Check Your Finances, Understand Your Finances
I won’t spend too much time on this topic because reviewing finances, collecting, and preparing end of year financial information in preparation for the new year is a given for anyone, especially entrepreneurs.
But, what each entrepreneur should also do is take steps to educate themselves or refresh their knowledge in the area of “financial management, accounting, bookkeeping, and reporting requirements.”
Being educated in these matters and staying abreast of changes or improvements in the field can help you (entrepreneurs) better understand and be aware of the state of your company’s finances without merely relying on the word of those who handle these processes daily.
Doing so will help you to prevent the potential of being blindsided by a financial mishap that could ruin your company and cause you significant financial and personal loss.
4. Networking: Human Links
As an entrepreneur, building and refreshing your business (human) network is a critical and ongoing task to aide with gaining contacts, talent, allies, and supporters that can help elevate your success.
While this should not be solely an end of year task, taking time in the last quarter or months of the year to review and assess your network as a whole can be useful in ensuring that you focus on beefing up your contacts in critical areas of your business that are essential to your new year success plan.
So, embarking on an end of year exercise to not merely look at individuals and titles, but mapping your network by categories and then reviewing the companies/businesses, resources and knowledge set that you need and comparing them to what you have will aid you in preparing to hit the ground running next year because you already have the crucial networking partners that can contribute to your company’s success journey.
5. Knowledge is Power
For entrepreneurs, the quest for success requires continuous learning and information gathering. As economic and business cycles end and you prepare for the upcoming seasons and year, you must ramp up on what’s new and what’s next.
Technology is consistently changing and advancing, new players are always entering the market, competitors are adding to or revising their product sets, we are continually introduced to new processes and methodologies, so it is imperative that you educate and strengthen your knowledge base in all these areas.
To do so, you may need to take classes, complete research, watch motivational, educational and “how-to” videos or read materials and books regularly. Someone I follow on LinkedIn announced a personal initiative of hers a few months back to read a book every month, pull out at least one nugget that could help her in her personal or professional processes, and try it out.
If you are building or running your own business, there is an excellent potential for acquiring ideas from reading books, magazines, journals, blogs, and articles that delve into subject matters that are pertinent to your mission or product.
You may find ways to do things more efficiently, and you may find information that drives you to develop a new widget or method of doing things that is not prevalent or widely used, allowing you to carve out a niche that propels your business forward.
The best part? Even if you’re still working a full-time job, you can start learning and laying the foundation for your future self-employed career today. Blogger and marketer, Ryan Robinson, is a great example of this. Six years ago, he began blogging and teaching himself how to write long-form content that would go on to now bring him 500,000+ monthly readers to his site.
He shares, “When I first started my blog, I didn’t know much of anything when it comes to building an audience. I took online courses, applied what I was learning in my new day job as a marketer and worked hard to create a regular writing practice. It was only after a couple years of consistent blogging and experimenting with different traffic driving strategies, that I began making meaningful strides toward becoming a full-time blogger.
Summary: Preparation Adds to Success Rate
As an entrepreneur, you are a “take charge” being who drives to fulfill your hopes and dreams. You aim high and understand that the roads you travel are often riddled with bumps and detours.
So, you know that staying open to seeking direction and continuously evaluating your navigation is necessary. Each year brings new promises and opportunities. Staying prepared is a mandatory requirement for business success.
Preparation puts you in the right place to respond quickly and effectively, creating an advantage as you strive to achieve your dreams. So try taking the five suggestions noted in this piece and use them for mapping your winning journey in 2020!