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As we close 2017, what are you doing to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new?

The close of the year should be a time of reflection.  We often focus our efforts on the tasks at hand and the what might be instore for the future.  However, it is equally important to look back and appreciate what went well, grasp what mistakes were made and lastly, if lessons were learned. 

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to do this as it allows you to take stock of your business and set realistic goals for the year ahead. 

Here is a Year-End to do list:

Get your accounts in order. One of the most important tasks at year-end is to accurately and timely close your books.  Close out your account payables and receivables and balance operating and trust accounts.  Sounds logical, right? If you have good accounting, the process should be a pretty easy task.  Closing out of your accounts and starting the year with organized and accurate balances allows you to understand your previous year’s financial activity as well as insight to any balances that will carry forward to the new year.  

Undergo a Solution Assessment. The end of the year is a perfect time to assess the current systems and procedures that you have in place and see if they can be improved for the new year.  Are you running a solid agency management system?  Is everything being entered the same across the agency?  Do you have a current procedures manual and job descriptions in place for existing staff and new hires?  Agency owners and managers are busy and often caught up in day-to-day management and administration but successful systems and procedures that run the agency are essential to customer satisfaction and retention.  Improving your automated systems reduces wasted time, eliminates potential errors and omissions and increases your ability to focus on your sales pipeline.

Declutter email inboxes. Everyone has that one person in the office that cannot get rid of a single email. What if it might be important in two years?  A cluttered email inbox is the same as a cluttered desk overflowing with papers and files.  It distracts and overwhelms every time you look at it.  At the new year, have your staff organize, archive, attach to agency management files and yes (gasp!) delete unneeded emails.  It seems a very simple thing to do but the psychological effect will be amazing on your staff.  It is certainly one of the easiest ways to increase productivity.  Here’s how:

Motivate your team! Employee engagement is vital to the success of your team and thus, your business.  Start the year of on a positive note by sharing the success of last year.  Ask everyone to set new plans and targets for what they want to achieve in the new year and find out what incentivizes them to do so.   This doesn’t always have to be money.   Also, be sure to give them the resources that they need to do their job well. 

Create New Year goals. Everyone knows that successful business owners should start each year by setting long-term goals.  However, it is equally important to set short-term goals. Short term goals are often overlooked and should be viewed as the steps to achieve the final goal and allow praise in shorter intervals.  It motivates employees to celebrate with more frequent successes.  Also, allow employees to have a word in the goals.  It gives them ownership of the idea and solidifies their participation.   

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.” ~ Mark Twain

Written on December 14, 2017 by Peggy Corbett