The month of July signals the halfway mark on the calendar, and a time when things typically slow down for many small businesses. With customers and clients taking time off for vacation, it’s tempting to leave the office early to catch a game of golf or head to the beach for the weekend.
Meanwhile, a little downtime might be exactly what you need right now to make sure you hit those year-end goals. In fact, this is the perfect time to take inventory of the first half of the year, analyze what has been working and what hasn’t, and revisit your annual marketing plan. Most importantly, you’ll want to take stock of your budget, cash flow, and revenue projections to make sure you come out on top before you break out the New Year’s bubbly.
Here are the three most important areas to focus your mid-year review, along with the critical questions you should be asking yourself as a small business owner:
- Marketing: Start by reviewing your marketing plan. Have you been following a real plan, or just “winging it?” If you set a plan at the beginning of the year, have you kept in line with the strategy and tactics you originally outlined? How are you measuring success, and are you progressing toward the goals you set out for the year? This is a great time to review and change course if needed. You can also use the time to make sure your website is current, optimized, and updated with relevant content for your target audience.
- Sales & Revenue: Start by reviewing the financial results of the first six months. Are you exceeding goals or falling short? Update your sales and revenue projections for the year based on both the reality check and the creation of a solid plan to get you to your new goals. Can you sell additional products or services to existing customers? What objections do you need to overcome in order to close prospects who have been dragging their feet? How can you attract new targets with creative strategies? Take advantage of the quieter time to take courses and fine-tune your skills, or join a mastermind group with other small business owners.
- Cash Flow: According to a U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of business failures are due to an inability to manage cash effectively. Your business can be at risk even when sales are good. Is your business sucking up cash? Do you have a solid plan in place to make sure you have enough cash to meet (or exceed) the weekly and monthly demands for the rest of the year? Meet with your accountant or financial advisor to review year-to-date cash flow and make year-end projections. Having a solid forecast for cash flow is especially critical if you have a business that relies on inventory, staff or contractors, or slow-paying clients. For any business, line up financing before you need it.
Merrimack Valley Credit Union offers a range of financing options for small business owners looking to steady their cash flow or invest in a capital project. Contact one of our Business Development Officers at 800-356-0067 ext. 2927 to learn more about our comprehensive business solutions.