The school summer holidays acts as a natural break in the year. Even if you don’t have school aged children, September brings with it a renewed sense of focus and energy. It’s the dawn of a new term and people want to get off to a good start. It’s also approaching the last quarter of the calendar year, and just over the horizon are the twinkling lights of Christmas. A sustained focus for 3 months doesn’t feel too much, it feels achievable.
Another year end
Some of you reading this may have just had year end pass, or perhaps it’s approaching. Those filing deadlines will be with you before you know it. In our experience, it’s best not to procrastinate too much. All too often we see business owners fall into planning for next year or managing the day-to-day tasks. Filing deadlines which they had ‘plenty of time for’ are fast approaching and understandably panic (and stress) sets in.
It doesn’t have to be like that. You can absorb the focus and energy at the start of the new term and use it to your advantage. We’ve pulled together our best advice to help you refocus on your business after the summer break and to make your year end accounts a positive experience!
Five steps to help you refocus on your business after a break
1. Realise those deadlines
Whenever your year end is, make sure you are crystal clear on the deadline to file your year end accounts (9 months after your company’s financial year ends). Those of you with 30th June year ends, you’ve only got 6 months left until your accounts are due. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing you have plenty of time, but unexpected issues crop up in business, at home, on holiday. Getting it done and out the way means you won’t be rushing to file at the eleventh hour. Mark your filing deadline clearly so all those involved in pulling information together know what they need to deliver and when.
2. Revisit your goals
When you’ve had time away from work, take a fresh look at your goals. Are they still relevant? Are they working towards what you plan for your business in the next 5-10 years, and beyond? Taking stock of where you are today and revisiting your goals is good thing to do at this time of year. With that ‘new term’ energy, you can achieve great things – just make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive).
3. Identify the priorities
Understanding what your priorities are (or should be) is much easier once you’re goals are defined, but business owners can get caught up in the day-to-day running of the company, getting side tracked from what’s important. Get clear on exactly what YOUR priorities are to move the business forward and achieve those goals. Then look at the work you’re doing each day and see if those actions are aligned to the list of priorities. If not, maybe you need the next step.
4. What can you offload?
If your time is being sent on tasks which are not on your list of priorities, then either:
a) You’re procrastinating and avoiding the work you should be doing, or
b) You’re responsible for too many areas and this needs to be addressed.
The tasks you are doing which are not a priority will fall into one of two categories – they still add value to the business and need to be done, or they don’t. It’s quite simple. If these tasks do not add any value or take the business closer to achieving its goals, then they should be stopped immediately.
If they are of value or a task which needs to be completed, then you need to work out who else in the business can take responsibility (without taking time away from their priorities) or outsource to a suitable third party. Outsourcing will be a cost to the business but if you find the right partner, they will be adding value too.
5. Measure and reward
If you’ve written SMART goals then you will have this covered, but you need to measure the work you are doing and adequately reward yourself! The goal maybe a financial goal for the business and naturally tied to its own reward, but if it isn’t a financial goal, make sure you have a suitable reward lined up. You’re working hard for your business, and you deserve to have that recognised.
Great advice, any time of year
These steps aren’t solely for the purpose of returning to work after the school summer holidays. Use them after any break away from work where you feel you have switched off and you’re returning with a fresh perspective (and hopefully a burst of energy)
If you want to get ahead on completing your year end accounts, we’d love to hear about your business. Call us on 01252 612484.