Check that your November sales and production matched your company goals. During your planning time for 2019, check each month in 2018 and compare actual sales and production to your goals. Adjust your 2019 projections using that information. Remember, you must be realistic in setting your goals. Setting your goals too high for 2019 will only lead to disappointment and frustration.
You should be planning your advertising now for spring work (April, May, June).
If you don't have a business plan in place, now is a very good time to get started. Another year has gone by and you will note that it did not get done by itself and the magic fairy didn't come around to help out. We outline how to create a business plan in this article.
Part of your review of 2018 and projections for 2019 should include such things as a review of the company contract you use with customers, your subcontractor manual, Change Work Order form, Right of Rescission form, and any other forms or checklists you regularly use during the course of your business day.
Right now is a very good time to send a card or letter to your old customers (even leads you didn't sell this year) wishing them Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, and thanking them for their business or their interest in your company. You might also tell them that if they have anyone they know that needs some help on a project, you will be glad to give them a call. Include an extra business card or two for them to hand out for you.
Review your employee handbook for any additions or changes needed for 2019. If you have employees, you must have an employee manual. If you don't, you're leaving your company and yourself wide open to lawsuits and state interference in your company.
Review the work your attorney, your CPA and your banker have done for you this year. If their performance has not been good, it is time to find someone new. You want to be doing business with problem solvers, not problem finders.
Speaking of CPA's, it's not too early to start assembling tax info for 2018. Make it a goal to get it together and to your CPA by January 15, 2019. Make sure they understand that you want your taxes filed by Feb. 15. Don’t let them put you off to April or even later.
Do your yearly corporate meeting ASAP. It's a necessary distraction, so just get it done.
Check that all your subcontractors license, bond and insurance are up to date and you might also review each of their performances in 2018. Is it time for new subs?
How have your suppliers done in 2018? Did they help you get the job done or did they just order take? Is it time to find any new suppliers? Hold them to the same standards that your customers hold you my friends.
As I mentioned last month in the To Do in November section, never label a bonus to employees as a Christmas or Year End bonus. Make sure you spell out in your employee manual that any bonuses to be paid to any employee at any time are at the sole discretion of the owner both in regards to the time paid and the amount paid, and there is no promise of any bonus at any time.
Let your spouse know how important and special they are. Tell them you love them every day. Have you found that something special for them for Christmas?
One last thing. It's easy to get into scrums with family members over time. If you are in one, take the initiative and get it resolved. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, get it cleaned up. You'll enjoy your Christmas Holidays much more if you have all family business cleaned up and can greet everyone with a smile and a hug.