Past The Halfway Mark – Your Year So Far…
Last weekend was a long weekend in most of North America; Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day (July 4) in the U.S.
This summer weekend of celebration falls not only close to the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere, but also at the halfway mark of the year. Yes, 2016 is now more than halfway through; we have passed the summer solstice and the days are already growing shorter, a sobering thought. As we wind down a little and enjoy the long hot lazy days of summer, maybe even take a few days off, it’s not a bad time to take stock of the year so far. How has your business fared in the first half of 2016?
Taking stock can provide a clear indicator of what you’re doing right and where your business is heading, or possibly give you a wake-up call that things are not going quite as planned and your business is ready for a change of direction.
Or, it may just show you where your customers are, what time of year is your busiest, who your ideal target market should be. Regardless, taking stock of your business – rather like an annual physical – can help you identify problems before they become insurmountable; it can also highlight what is going well.
Every business owner will have their preferred way of examining the progress of their business. Perhaps you like to play with pretty graphs or other graphics (yes, I am definitely guilty of this one!) or perhaps you prefer just to take a quick look at your books.
Maybe it’s a good time for meeting with partners and employees for appraisals and feedback or to reach out to your customers with an online survey. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what your preferred method is – you don’t even have to do it at the mid-point of the year; many people prefer the end of the year, either calendar or financial. What does matter is that you do it and that you learn from and act on your findings.
Consider also the effect that other matters, outside of your control, may have had on your business in recent months. An unusually harsh winter or a disappointing summer may affect those businesses that rely on seasonal trade; likewise, political events or changes in the economical environment can seriously affect many businesses. The infuriating thing is that there is little we can do about these external matters; we can, however, plan ways to mitigate their effect. This may involve a little lateral thinking as we try to “make lemonade” when life hands us lemons.
Here’s to a wonderful second half!