Rose Report: Issue 21

Taking Your Business to the Next Level – The Time is Now

issue21-pic-story4For start-ups and other small businesses that are experiencing rapid growth, the period directly following tax time can be a great opportunity. First of all, now that your taxes are filed, you may have fewer distractions and can dedicate more time to strategic planning. Four months of the year are behind you already—giving you solid data that can be used to update your revenue forecast, while still allowing plenty of time to make meaningful adjustments to this year’s plan.

Additionally, you can learn from last year’s taxes. “Given the significant changes that have been occurring in the tax code, you should now have great visibility into the tax impacts and how that will affect you this year,” says Rose Financial Services partner Timothy Fargo.

During your first quarter strategic session, you’ll want to ask yourself a few important questions. Where am I generating income growth and decline? Am I focusing my marketing efforts in the right places? How can I streamline expenses? Are there things we need to start or stop doing? Are there any tax deductions we didn’t take last year that we position ourselves for this year? Were my quarterly tax estimates accurate?

Asking these questions will shed light on your organization’s strengths and weaknesses and help you refine your forecast for the year. For example, you might see that one division of your company is generating more revenue than expected and decide to focus more marketing efforts and financial resources in that area this year or next year. Conversely, you may see that a division is losing money, and decide it’s time to rethink that department.

Remember that creating a plan for the future is just as important for small, growing companies as it is for larger, more established ones. “Strategic planning sounds like an activity best suited to giant corporations that employ large staffs of MBAs to manage the strategic planning process,” wrote Small Business Chronicle. “But at its most basic level, strategic planning is a set of tools that allows any business, large or small, to get a clearer picture of the opportunities it has and the threats it faces from the economic environment and from competitors. Based on this information, the management team sets goals for the next year and for the long term.”