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With the beginning of a new financial year comes an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to reflect and reset. It’s a fantastic time for strategic goal setting, too. For many businesses though, EOFY also coincides with a demanding period on other fronts. And the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have compounded the sense of overwhelm for many.
To help make sure you can take advantage of the financial new year, we’ve gathered some goal-setting tips to consider that are both simple and effective.
First things first: Closing the book on the past year
Block some time on your calendar around the end of the financial year, either solo or with the help of a business partner, staff member or adviser. Then, start ticking the following things off your list before you launch into the new financial year:
Financial reporting: Make sure you have 12 months’ worth of reporting completed and consolidated so that your financial records can be easily accessed and analysed by your accountant. Today’s accounting software options make this process simple and intuitive. Plus, if you’re a Square seller, programs such as Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks all integrate seamlessly with your Square payments and POS.
Tax obligations: EOFY tax returns, BAS statements, GST returns: make sure you’re on top of it all and meeting your quarterly and annual tax obligations to avoid headaches heading into a fresh financial year. The ATO website lists out the current business tax deadlines and important information to take note of. And when in doubt, seek advice from your tax accountant or financial adviser.
Holistic review: If you’re already in the habit of setting annual targets, now is the time to review the financial year that was. Refer back to your business plan and any other annual planning documentation. Did you meet your goals? What went well in the business? What needs improvement and attention? There are dozens of methods that help business owners check their business health. Try a basic SWOT analysis for context as to where you win against your competitors, and what you need to watch out for.
Do that thing you’ve been putting off: A difficult conversation with a supplier, a long-overdue stock count, a few days of closure for repairs and maintenance… don’t bring your procrastination into the new financial year. Get it done now and you’ll be feeling a sense of great relief and accomplishment.
Dream big and look ahead 10+ years
If you’re already in business, then chances are at some point you had a vision that drove you to take those first steps towards running it. Whether you saw a gap in the market or had a burning ambition to bring your product or service to more people, it all began with that vision.
Now is your time to be reminded of your vision and assess your business goals against it. Business expert John Doerr sums it up best: “Truly transformational teams combine their ambitions to their passion, and to their purpose.” So do not underestimate the importance of defining the passion that sparked your business idea.
Visionary businesses don’t settle for small goals; while they may be mostly focused on daily targets, if you dig a bit deeper you’ll find an ambitious vision bubbling under the surface. This is often referred to in business jargon as a ‘big hairy audacious goal’ (BHAG).
For a highly ambitious goal to work, it needs to be motivating – to you, and preferably to your broader team. So while a revenue goal may be the most clear and trackable goal, if it doesn’t deeply motivate you as a business owner it may be better to think of something more specific and meaningful to you.
Your ambitious goal needs to feel challenging and slightly uncomfortable. It’s something that would be impossible to achieve within a few years, but just within reach if you think a decade ahead (or longer). Why? Because closer goals that are easier to achieve can be picked apart by your critics, and because those longer-term, loftier goals are naturally more likely to feel exciting to you and your team.
Of course once your driving goal or vision is cemented, you can get back to your annual planning, breaking down yearly goals into quarterly or monthly chunks. The S.M.A.R.T method is always a good one to apply here: your individual goals that ladder up to your vision should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Dig into your business data
Now that you’re clear on your big goal, you’ve prepared your financial reports and checked in with your strategic plans, you can start to investigate further to see any underlying trends that affect your business cash flow. The end of a financial year is an ideal time to dedicate to some data analysis.
It’s important to note that although major drains on your expenditure and glaring liabilities will be obvious to spot, they’re not necessarily simple to fix. Be reassured that surfacing the bigger financial issues means you’ve already started to combat them: Knowledge is power.
Square sellers can also take advantage of the reporting and analytics tools available for free in the Square Dashboard. From sales trends reports, to payment methods data, to sales by item, sales by team member, and more: the Dashboard is a gold mine of business data that can help you grow and adapt fast.
Dashboard is built to meet your needs as a time-poor business owner every day of the year – not just at tax time. You can access your Square analytics on the go using the free mobile app, or anytime on your desktop by signing in at Square.com.au. From there, you can download up-to-the-minute CSVs or just take a quick glance for a daily summary of the data points that matter to you.
With digestible data available to you, you’ll have a clear baseline for setting clear sales targets and financial goals for the financial year to come.
Celebrate with your community
Why not consider planning some time for celebration and connection to coincide with the end of the financial year. After all, you, your team and your entire business community has been through a lot throughout this most challenging of years. If it’s safe to do so, consider planning something to help signify a fresh start:
- A celebratory team dinner to say thank you
- A fun team planning and activity day off-site, e.g. a cooking class
- A ‘street party’ inviting your neighbouring shop and restaurant owners from the community to visit for a drink or some coffee and cake
- A small event that includes a representative from the charity your business supports
- A team excursion visiting inspiring businesses in a different city or suburb
Setting business goals for the new financial year doesn’t need to be complicated or daunting. If you follow some of these tips and lean on your team and advisers, you’ll get through EOFY feeling prepared for a successful 12 months ahead. As always, Square can help you grow your business through its suite of products that are built to take on nearly any job. As a Square seller you can also learn from and collaborate with other sellers through our Seller Community.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, personal, or tax advice. The information contained herein is subject to change and may vary from time to time. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.