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Four key questions for the end of the financial year

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

With the end of financial year fast approaching, it's an opportune time to pause and take a moment to step back from the day-to-day running of your business and regroup, refocus, and realign with your greater vision and goals.


But when it comes to delving into the planning and development side of business, it can be hard to know where to start, particularly when you have limited time.


So here are four questions to ensure you start the new financial year off more profitably and productively:


What has worked?


When you look back over the last six months, look at what has worked well. From sales and marketing strategies to systems and procedures, what has generated the most results or made the most difference in your business?


These are strategies and tasks you want to give priority to. You might even want to plan to invest more time, money and resources in these areas to grow them further and generate more return in the next half of this year.


What hasn't worked?


When you look back over the last six months, look at what hasn't worked.


This is an important opportunity to learn from mistakes and hindsight.


What sales and marketing strategies haven't worked? What products or services aren't selling? What business relationships aren't working or profitable? What have you learnt from the challenges you've had over the last six months?


What could be done even better?


Before you rid your business of everything that didn't work, it is important to ask "why" it didn't. Are there still opportunities to be had if done right or better?


When you look at what worked, are there opportunities to make it even better, faster, bigger or more effective? Always be looking for areas to improve.


What is your market telling you?


This is perhaps the most important question. Over the last six months, what has your market been telling you?


What products and services are the most popular? Who is buying from you? Why are they buying from you? Why do they need and want your products or services? Why are they coming to you and not someone else? Are they responding to some marketing messages better than others?


What feedback have you received? If you've had complaints, have they been addressed in your business and with the customer(s)?


Have you had more new customers than this time last year? Have you had more repeat customers than this time last year? Has your average customer transaction price increased from this time last year? Why?


Answering these questions will give you greater clarity on what you need and want to achieve in the coming months, where you need to focus your efforts, how you can be more strategic and targeted with your marketing and how you can measure your success.


Here's to our most successful year yet!