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2018 is fast coming to a close, and the Holiday festivities are already starting to fill up your calendar. You set some aggressive goals for the year and did some much needed strategic and tax planning with your advisors. Crunch time is coming, and there are some things you can do to finish 2018 strong by focusing on revenues, expenses, your goals, and preparing for 2019.

Maximize Sales and Cash Flows

We always start a new year full of optimism and confidence in our sales goals. By Q2, we get so bogged down in running the business and putting out fires that we forget some of the great ideas we had to give our revenues a shot in the arm. Here are a few activities you can do to give your sales revenues a final push to finish the year:

  • Offer some one-time-only, end-of-year deals. Try and pull some sales from early 2019 into 2018.
  • Review your open proposals, incomplete orders, and lost customers. There’s additional revenues in those as long as you can close them. Consider special incentives for your sales team to do so.
  • Go Wide! Did you launch new products or services in 2018? Of course, you did. Run a report on your customers and see which ones still haven’t purchased those new products and make them an offer to do so.

Minimize Taxes

You still have time to reduce your 2018 tax burden. Some things you can do are the same things you’ve done every year. A few are new in 2018. Try these tips to reduce your 2018 tax bill:

  • Assets: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 has some great opportunities to acquire capital assets and get a tax break. If you know you’re going to need to make these purchases, talk to your tax advisor and see how you can use these advantages.
  • Work that Profit and Loss Statement: Reduce top-line revenue by deferring income — I know, we just told you how to increase this! Your specific plan will vary. On the bottom line, pay future bills and invoices in advance.
  • Manage Inventory: Inventory is frozen cash. Do you need to liquidate? Do you need to buy additional inventory? This is a great way to manage cash.

Assess your 2018 Goals

How are you doing on your march towards achieving your 2018 goals? Whatever tool you use to measure your progress — spreadsheets, a dashboard, software — make sure it’s updated and take your company’s temperature. You know how it goes, you manage what you measure. Whether you’ve kept on top of your numbers all year or not, get them out now and take a look. Now, how does it look? Anything you can catch up on here in the final weeks? Create yourself a plan to finish the year with a focus on those goals. If you know you’re going to miss hitting some of your goals, that’ll be a good starting point for your 2019 goals. Speaking of which…

Start Planning for 2019

You’ll do your 2019 planning session in January, once all of your numbers are in and all the books are in order. However, after reviewing your 2018 goals, you’re likely to see some flashing red lights that will need attention. Consider the following in our preliminary planning for 2019:

  • Unfinished goals from 2018
  • Sales projections for the new year
  • Know your numbers, always
  • New competitors that popped up in 2018
  • New products or services that you need to evaluate as potential offerings next year
  • Changes to your team: who left, what additional hires do you need to make, who needs to step up their game

Build a Winning Team

Now that we’ve mentioned changes to your team, let’s focus on that. Some of the fastest improvements we’ve seen with our clients has come from making hard choices with the team — employees. It’s not always a matter of firing people. We like the analogy from Jim Collins’ Good to Great of the bus — make sure you have the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and everybody in the right seats. Take some time to start the process of assessing your team’s performance and, as its leader, how you can mold it into shape in 2019. Your team in 2019 needs to align with your goals. You’ll be amazed at how fast you get to your goals with the right people running the plays.

Conclusion

As we close out 2018, there are plenty of opportunities to make it a strong finish. Work your profit-and-loss statement to minimize taxes. Strategize with your sales team (or your sales plan if you are the sales team) to close old proposals, sell more to existing customers, and pull some of the early 2019 revenues into 2018 — don’t worry, we’ll do that again next year! Analyze your goals, make adjustments, and start laying the foundation for a strong 2019.

Finally, work with your Strategic Advisory team. That’s why you hired them in the first place.

Here’s to a strong finish in 2018!

ASCEND Business Advisory is here to help 888 297 3321.