It’s tempting, after another year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, to predict a brighter 12 months ahead.
Unfortunately for all of us, the virus doesn’t recognise the calendar year – and with the threat of new variants ongoing there’s no guarantee of a clean break from the pandemic in 2022.
Instead, more uncertainty lies ahead for businesses of all types.
Whatever happens this year, there are things you can do to put yourself in the best possible position and give yourself the edge over the competition. That starts with proper business planning and the right advice.
Time to reflect
Before looking ahead, the new year is a good time to think back on the events of 2021 for your business, and how you performed against the plan you set for yourself in 2021.
You might be surprised by how much you’ve achieved under the circumstances – and you might spot some lessons to learn for the next year, too.
To judge your progress effectively, look at your key performance indicators for each goal – what does the data say about how well you performed?
Making sure each goal you have is connected to something measurable is the best way to know you’re on track.
Many businesses find it useful to carry out a SWOT analysis as part of their business planning – looking at their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to assess where they stand now and what they could improve on in the future.
Another valuable tool is a PESTLE analysis, which looks at political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors to build up a picture of the external influences that could affect your business.
After some reflection, you can use the information you have on the past year to inform your plans for next year.
Gathering as much detailed, accurate data as possible is key to this.
This is where cloud accounting software is particularly useful, as it pulls information straight from your bank account with minimal manual input.
If you’re using software like Xero or Sage, you should have a full picture of your cashflow for 2021, which you can use as a basis for next year’s projections.
Of course, there are many unknown factors – but to deal with that uncertainty, you can create multiple forecasts based on best and worst-case scenarios, and some that sit in between the two.
Find the right advisers
Whatever your business’s circumstances, there’s no replacing the depth of insight you’ll get from a qualified, experienced adviser.
So as we begin the new year, it might be time to think about the quality of advice you’re getting now, and whether you feel confident you’ve got the right people on your side.
If you’ve already got an accountant, take a moment to consider: are they providing as much value to your business as you would like? Are they approachable and receptive to your questions, and do they actively look for ways to achieve your business goals?
In our view, a good accountant shouldn’t just be someone you hear from once a year when they handle your tax return.
They should be supportive, honest and easy to deal with – someone who’ll keep you informed and inspire you to take the next step in your business journey.
Let’s plan for 2022 together. Get in touch for expert business advice.