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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Now is the time for entrepreneurs to look ahead

Instead of waiting for November and December to work on the New Year’s goals, start earlier

While summer has been hot and slow, it has been the perfect time to brainstorm new business ideas.

We have developed some content for a client’s fall campaign, and I have taken the time to write more. The office was quiet and many of my clients took off, which eased my process. But come September next week, we will be swamped with so many things to do until the end of the year.

As for many of you entrepreneurs, it is the time for getting together with your accountants, working on next year’s budget, and renewing business licences. The list and time needed could feel overwhelming, and it is also the time when many of your staff would want to take off and spend the last month of the year with their families.

Instead of waiting for November and December to work on the New Year’s goals, and tie any loose ends of this year, I suggest you start earlier. People will be freer to meet, and that would help keep your stress levels at bay.

Here’s what should be on your Q4 to do list:

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Get the books in order. Perhaps you did not have enough time to review your books monthly, and set aside some money. Now is the perfect time to go over your company’s all-year performance, compare your performance to the years before, and plan your budget for next year.

Plan ahead with your team. If you have ideas regarding growth, services you want to add or remove, now is a good time to speak to your employees about it. Talk about the challenges faced by each, how you could move your company forward, and what projects would they like to work on for next year. You want to make sure that they will be passionate about the projects they will be leading. Maybe you will have two employees who would like to switch jobs around, now is the time to discuss that.

Review your technology assets. There are certain software programs that we cannot survive a business day without, and there are others that we do not use frequently. Perhaps there is a scanner in the office that no one uses often, or a licensed program that no one is using anymore. Review your current digital devices, and see which licenses or programs you can eliminate, and which ones will you need for the next year. It is important to do this now, instead of next year, as you need to factor this in your planned budget.

Make room for growth. Now is the time to see how will your business grow and expand next year. Work on your next year’s projections and incorporate them in your budget. For instance, if you plan to increase the size of your team, does your office space accommodate that? Will the new hires need any training? Perhaps new equipment? If you plan to introduce new products to your online store, make sure that your website would not need any further development which would add a cost to your budget, and also make sure that you have enough customer service team members who will be able to handle the new requests. This takes us to the next important point.

Ensure that your goals are detailed and actionable. Let’s say that you plan to introduce 40 new products by March. You will have to break down that to more a detailed and date-tied deadline, and to also plan who will be handling what. If you have five goals for the year, break those down even more. What will you be doing from now until the products are launched? Who will be handling that project? The best thing is to break down a main goal into a set of smaller tasks. Having a deadline for each smaller task will help keep your team in check, so that they know what is expected of them, and what they need to focus on for each period. As you work on your detailed timetable, ensure to do that with your relevant team members.

Don’t forget to have fun. In the midst of our busy schedules, we may forget to celebrate our little triumphs: the sale deal we closed down last June; appreciate a certain employee’s hard work; or the record purchase order on the website. It is important to reflect on the good things that happened throughout the year, and to step away every once and a while and see the bigger picture.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer who manages her branding and marketing consultancy in Abu Dhabi. Twitter:

@manar_alhinai