As the End of year approaches, do you take time to look back at the past year, and judge your successes and failures, hoping to learn from them? Do you look forward, towards the future, making plans for future conquests? Or do you go in a different direction? I've collected entrepreneurs and investors to share their advice. I hope you'll be inspired to take action that makes your business better in the New Year. This column will be about closing and the year-end, and the next one will be about goal setting.
Leif Hartwig, founder of 5050BIZ.com said "I typically launch a year-end campaign that bonuses employees for their December results. The extra money they earn is appreciated around the holidays and promotes strong employee/employer relationships."
Ben Lerer, angel investor and founder of male-focused local city guide Thrillist.com said "I like to wrap the year in a bow. I think it's important to give employees significant time off (we are closed from Christmas to New Years) to take a proper vacation knowing the office is closed, with the peace of mind that they don't need to worry about Thrillist. It motives everyone to work especially hard in Q4 and sprint full speed ahead toward the light at the end of the tunnel, while also laying the groundwork for Q1. Additionally, it gives everyone a chance to rejuvenate and enter the New Year strongly."
Several CEOs told me there is no year-end anymore — its just another quarter. "Don't wait for the end of the year, if you need to change strategy or implement change, carefully evaluate it and implement it immediately! The year-end is just another quarter; you should always be cleanly closing quarters" said Jeff Stewart, CEO of Urgent Career and founder of Mimeo.com. There's one exception to his rule: accounting items. "I recommend changing the chart of accounts only once a year. This will make reporting easier and simpler."
Then there are those who reach out to important clients and customers at year's end. "I always send out New Years gifts as opposed to Christmas or Hanukah gifts. They don't get "lost" among all of the other gifts my clients are inevitably getting at that time!" reported Danielle Cuomo, Owner of Virtual Assist USA. Lisa L. Spahr, Consultant, Coach and Author, thinks taking inventory of your best clients is important. "Once identified, thank them with a gift or personal connection. Then, track how you got them and thank the referral partner who directed them to you with a gift or personal connection. Finally, create a plan for attracting more of them, your BEST clients, by repeating history. You'll enjoy the year more by working with the type of clients you most enjoy (for whatever reason you chose them as the best)."
Alltop.com CEO Guy Kawasaki, a founding partner of Garage Technology Ventures and the author of nine books, told me "I throw out every pending email and start the New Year with an empty inbox. It's a good thing you sent this when you did."