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Business Matters

We had seasons in the sun...

Having spent a lot more time in the great outdoors this year than in every other year out of the last 50, I've become very conscious of the changes that take place in the world.

When I was young the seasons used to be more marked or at least I think they were. But I have noticed the gradual changes as the year has gone from April, through the progressively warming days of May into the dry days of June and July including a mountainous achievement in climbing Ben Nevis and then the sudden (almost) rush into darker nights and cloud-laden skies and the leaves falling brown and dry onto the muddy wet ground. Winter is just round the corner (it starts astronomically on 21st December incidentally and culturally, it started on 1st November!) and it will not be too long before we have deep frost, snow and ice to contend with.

I've discovered as the months have gone on that there are particular times of the year when certain activities are more sensible. We discovered, Drew (my climbing buddy) & I that starting to climb even a small (985m) Munro at 3.15pm in August is touch and go to ensure you are back down before dark. And as the year has progressed, to maintain some degree of fitness, long distance walks and ordinary bike runs and sub-2000ft hills have replaced mtb-ing on what are now dark and extremely muddy trails and climbing satisfying hills.

Activity patterns perhaps ought to be seasonal in business too. The obvious seasons are noticed most particularly in retail where the cultural seasons are marked by changes in design and decor and product availability, even to the extent that as soon as Valentines Day is over, Easter eggs proliferate like some virus spreading through the supermarket shelves.

Typical service businesses however are less obviously seasonal - we don't for instance have a "Hallowe'en Tax Return offer" (maybe we should?) but we need to look at a higher level to spot seasonal activities and perhaps create the activity rather than rely on cultural seasonality to give the clues. Eh??

What I mean is, and lets say that your business year starts on 1st April, your year should have some key chapters that mark it out.

Let me give you some ideas to start with:

December (before your year end)

Do some strategic thinking about your business - find a box and think outside of it

thinkoutsidethebox

January

Pay your tax bills - if you have any of course!

February

Start taking a look at your plans and targets for the next financial year and over the next two months build your profit and cash forecasts. Take into account what you started in December

March

Start getting your paperwork together for the accountant and get it filed in the right places and in the right order. Create your 90 day plan for the first quarter of the year.

April

Get your budgets into your accounts system so you can start monitoring from the end of this month

May

Get your accounts over to the accountant

June

Get your accounts back and make any changes to your plans as a result of the tax planning you've done with NGM Accountants. Review your last 90 day plan and build the next one. Review your strategic plan at the same time.

July - September

Holidays! Next 90 day plan...

October....

Starting to get the idea?

In our business , we have tax seasons mainly (as well as business development seasons). In yours, your planning will determine what you do and when (at least, it should).

So today's question is simply this, do you know what your business seasons are?

JohnF


 

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