When you run a business, you tend to get caught up in the day-to-day. There is always so much to do and think about that some things might be forgotten. Here are four things you should make time to do at least once a year to improve the overall health of your business.

1. A SWOT Analysis

Perform an annual SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis to take stock of how your business is doing in each of these categories and determine what improvements can be made.

"To get the most complete, objective results, a SWOT analysis is best conducted by a group of people with different perspectives and stakes in your company," says Tim Berry at Bplans.1 "Management, sales, customer service, and even customers can all contribute valid insight. Moreover, the SWOT analysis process is an opportunity to bring your team together and encourage their participation in and adherence to your company’s resulting strategy."

2. Market Research

Once a year, take time to conduct market research to get a feel for what your customers want.

"When you have an established customer base, it’s important to hear their thoughts, collect feedback and look at what others have started doing since you came to market," explains Alisha Pennington at Forbes.2 "Each of these exercises should then be used to help determine how to adjust services, products and/or the customer experience moving into the next year. When talking to clients, you want to be precise and pointed with your line of questioning. Specifically, you're looking to identify their pain points and desired solutions."

In other words, ask customers/clients about what they like and don't like about your products/services, as well as the industry at large. Responses can provide valuable feedback, which you can use to improve your offerings or meet some need that is not being met.

3. An Overall View of Your Staffing

When was the last time you took a hard look at your staff? Not just performance reviews and personal assessments, but your practices, needs, and overall situation. In addition to conducting annual personnel reviews, consider if you have enough people (or if you have too many). Is it time to hire? Is there more work than your current team can handle?

You should also be thinking about retention. Are your valuable employees satisfied with their current work situation? Could some work from home? Are wages and benefits competitive? Make it a point at least once a year to ask yourself these questions and talk to your employees to get their feedback.

4. An Annual Financial Review

Evaluate your cash flow and use forecasting to make sure you're prepared for what lies ahead. Make plans for dealing with debt and find expenses that can be reduced. Figure out if you're paying for services or subscriptions that you can do without, and look for free or cheaper alternatives to free up some money.

Review your bank accounts, credit cards, and investments to make sure you're using products that are the most efficient and beneficial for your company. Speak with your banker about the options that are available to you. Are you getting rewards from your credit card use? Are you paying fees that may be waived if you switched to another type of account? Could automating some of your financial processes help your company run more efficiently?

Put These Tasks on Your Calendar

Ideally, you would perform each of these tasks more than once a year, but if you do them annually, you can make major strides toward securing the future of your business. Set a firm date for starting each of these tasks so they don’t get pushed aside by day-to-day duties.

1. https://articles.bplans.com/how-to-perform-swot-analysis/

2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/11/23/three-tasks-every-business-owner-should-do-annually/?sh=4b97caf9406b


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC