CEO / Founder Checklist for the New Year

The beginning of the new year is a popular time for personal and professional resolutions.  As a business owner and operator, now is the best time to set the strategic vision for your firm and its employees to follow for the year.  If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled a checklist of seven topics that you can use for inspiration:

  1. Outline the initiatives you want to accomplish this year.
    • Start with laying out what your firm’s key goals from the prior year.
    • Which ones was your firm able to accomplish?  Wish ones were you unable to?
    • Identify the focus areas that you want to focus on as a firm: customer satisfaction? Employee retention?  Product proliferation? 
  1. Assess how your company stacks up against peers.
    • Are there any products or services that competitors’ office, but your firm does not?  If so, is there a sound business reason for this?
    • How does the quality of your product or service compare to peers?
    • Are there gaps in the market that your peers are not addressing?
    • How does the company ratios compare to industry benchmarks, and which are important to this business?
  1. Determine your company’s cash burn.
    • Your cash burn determines the lifespan of your business and will dictate whether you can accomplish objective in the timeline you have outlined.  Essentially, the cash burn calculation takes the amount of money required to operate your business and estimates a range of time at which point your firm would run out of money, assuming it were unable to sell its products or services successfully.
    • If you haven’t already, plan for your cash burn, and ensure every dollar is accounted for. 
  1. If an audit were to happen tomorrow, would you be ready?
    • What is the state of my P&L / where is there opportunities for improvement?
    • Tackle the low-hanging fruit first: does your company have formal accounting systems and financial processes in place?  If not, this may be the year you get this straightened out.
    • If processes are in place, conduct an internal audit.  Is there room for improvement in terms of reporting?
  1. Ensure your employees are properly engaged and motivated.
    • Do you have the right people in the right roles?
    • Are expectations for roles clearly defined?
    • Conduct role audit: confirm that the descriptions you have outlined for roles matches the work that is performed.  If not, consider, examining why this is the case.
  1. Verify that all internal processes designed with end satisfaction in mind.
    • Designing and implementing processes is a critical step for scaling organizations.  However, companies can and often do outgrow their systems. 
    • Verify that the system and processes in place ultimately serve to enhance the customer experience.  If not, make sure that they are part of a larger sequence culminating in superior product or service outcomes.  If this still is not the case, consider re-evaluating or re-evaluating those processes that may have become superfluous with time.
  1. Identify key vendors and customers and asses the state of these relationships.
    • Check in with your most important external relationships, as these can make or break your business.
    • Are there certain customer segments that you would like to access, but currently do not?  Develop a financial model and analyze whether the customer acquisition costs would be accretive to your business.
    • Are there vendor relationships that need to be re-evaluated? 

Through  Venture First services, you’ll get the insight you need to make data-driven decisions, maximize financial performance, and achieve your business objectives. Our team of experts has the experience and knowledge to assess your financial data and make sound recommendations that will drive your business forward. Don’t wait – contact us today to learn more about how we can support the following finance needs.

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