What to Do in a Year-End CEO Planning Session

One of the best things about the end of the year is the fresh start of a new year we’re about to embark upon. There are so many possibilities! As a CEO, it’s your job to navigate what possibilities you’ll take on, what you’ll let go of, and what your plan for the future will be.

Taking some time away from the day-to-day running of your business is important so you can focus on next steps. And your year-end planning session might look a little different than what you do at the end of each quarter.

Book a hotel room or a coworking space to hold your own CEO planning session, so you can be free of distractions. Then dig in!

Take a Bigger Step Back

Every quarter, you look back at the quarter you just wrapped up and ahead at the upcoming quarter. That’s important to do in December too. But since we have a whole new year ahead of us, be sure to look back at the year you’re wrapping up as well as what’s coming up for next year. It’s like a quarterly review but on a much bigger scale.

I recommend taking a close look at your calendar and blocking off your children’s school breaks, vacations, holidays, and any significant life events that might have an impact on your business in the next year. Even if you have a team to take care of things, you still want to have these dates on your calendar.

Then do all the tasks you usually do for the quarter, like reviewing your offers, ensuring your pricing allows for profit, taking care of your profit distributions, and so on.

Set Goals for the New Year

Goals give us something to strive for and they give us some structure in each week. Decide what your big revenue goal is for the next 12 months, being careful to make it reasonable based on your revenue for this year.

In other words, a $250,000 year sounds great but if your revenue this year was $100,000 you probably don’t have the infrastructure to hit that lofty goal. Have a nice stretch goal to reach for, but be realistic.

You can also set other goals for the new year. Do you have a goal for what you want to be able to buy with your owner’s profits? Do you want to buy new equipment or invest in more team members? Is there a product or service you plan to launch in the next year?

Having your big goals listed out will help you prioritize your time, which will help you make progress every week toward those goals.

Adjust Your Allocations

Chances are you will need to adjust your monthly allocations to meet your profit and owner’s pay goals in the coming year. Think about what you’d like to earn next year, as the owner. What would it take for you to get there? Map out incremental changes to your allocations so you get there by the end of next year.

We have a great dashboard that you can use to help you with this!

Look at Your Business Structure & Licenses

If your business has experienced a lot of growth, it’s probably time to look at your business structure to see if you need to make a change. We recommend talking to your accountant to see if it’s time to look at an S Corp or other structure. The end of a calendar year is a really good time to start putting a plan in place for this.

Year-end is also a good time to renew your business license, reseller permits, sales taxes, etc.

Determine Your Sales and Marketing Plan

Marketing and sales are what will get you to your goals for next year. You might want to consider increasing your prices (here’s how to talk to your clients about this) if you haven’t done that in a while. Another thing to consider is a promotion for the beginning of summer, when people start to take time off from their fitness, or for Black Friday. Just be sure to have an advanced account set up, Profit First style.

Also consider that you’ll lose clients throughout the year through attrition. How do you plan to bring more new clients when you’re not doing a big promotion? You need visibility and to nurture leads year-round, so start mapping out a plan to do that.

A year-end CEO planning session goes beyond ensuring your money is taken care of. There are so many moving parts in a business that you have to consider; taking time away from the day-to-day is necessary!

Shannon Simmons

Shannon has been consulting with small businesses for over 10 years. After 2 years in public accounting she saw a need to work for small business owners to teach them how to grow financially healthy businesses. She has built on her Master of Accountancy degree from Manchester University by becoming a Certified Profit First Professional and a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. When she’s not meeting with entrepreneurs or assessing their businesses, she enjoys time with her husband and 2 children serving in their community, playing and watching sports, marveling at nature or reading a good book.

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