By Lisa Blankman, CPA
Manager, Audit & Assurance Services
Was your phone buzzing off your desk after Labor Day? That was Telephone Tuesday calling! Historically, studies show a 30-50% increase in calls on the Tuesday after this long holiday weekend, marking the unofficial end of summer breaks and the shift in focus back to business. The end of the year is just around the corner, and procrastination is catching up on everyone as they look upon what’s left on their plate.
You must be proactive in order to finish the fourth quarter strong and hopefully wrap up a successful year. Now is the time to move with a stronger sense of urgency. It’s also time to prepare for 2024 and position yourself to take advantage of the opportunities open to you and your company.
The hardest part of pulling yourself out of procrastinating is renewing your commitment to a positive plan of action while you still have the time to impact the current year’s operating results. One of the simplest ways to start is with an old-fashioned to-do list. What seems like a mountain of tasks will shrink into a molehill when you put them down on paper and proceed to check them off. But you should prioritize that list and break it into sub-tasks, thus making it easier to multitask and chip away at several projects at once. That’s the best way to complete the biggest project on the list. Don’t save all the hardest work for last.
Ask the tough questions throughout this analytical process. What operational factors aren’t generating the strategic results you were hoping for by this time of year? Do you need to make personnel changes or alter the responsibilities of certain team members? Do you need to push junior employees into higher positions? Analyze your vendors as well and think about whether they are meeting your business needs and making it easier for you to accomplish your goals. Are their pricing and services commensurate with their cost?
While you’re at it, take a look at your budget, too — both what is remaining for 2023 and what you should plan for in 2024. Do you need to tighten it up a bit or build upon it? Make specific, measurable financial goals for both periods. Think about how much revenue you aim to rack up in 2024. Do you need to raise prices in order to keep pace with your cost structure? When was your last price increase?
Remember: Great leaders have an idealistic, big-picture vision, but they focus on realistic, manageable execution.
Don’t let yourself fall behind! There is still plenty of time to ensure a great fourth quarter and plan for an even more successful 2024. Start right now! Develop a plan of action that will help you achieve your goals!