Well, it’s that time of year again. Do you hear it in the air? The whimpers, screams, champagne corks, over the top car advertisements and ringing cash registers that signal the End of Financial Year (aka EOFY, aka crazy time).
Amongst the throes of trying to complete all those niggly outstanding tasks prior to a new budget being ushered in next week, in the lead up there’s quite a bit of time required to reflect on the past Financial Year that was, and what lessons can be taken forward into the coming year. I thought I’d share a few of mine with you.
Lesson 1: Look deep into your numbers to see the future
First up… Sales, sales, sales! It’s important to look back on the sales across the past financial period. Yes, you start by looking at the macro number – did you hit it? But the real value comes in looking *into* the number. Were they the “right type” of sales; be that the products or offers you were selling, the geographies that you had planned to sell into, the types of customers you wanted to reach and ultimately win? How did those sales come about? What lessons are in there that may need to be accommodated in the coming year (for example, the type of sales support required, growth lessons for new territories, etc.)? You can also cast an eye back across the marketing activities to determine what was effective. Often it’s hard to see the causal effect of marketing across a month or quarter – across a financial year should provide a reasonable window to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
Lesson 2: Acknowledge, ask and listen to your people
Another important metric to reflect upon is the people of your organisation. Who joined, left and stayed with the business over the past year? Starting with those that left the business – why? Where did they go? On balance, what was the impact of that person leaving? Those that joined the business – where did they come from? What has their impression of the business been? And those that stayed – what will keep them with the business in the coming year? If you have growth plans, where are those new hires going to come from? How are you going to attract the right type of people (and do you know what that “right type of person” looks like)? The lesson I’ll take away from this past Financial Year is that there are plenty of people out there… but brilliant, awesome, kickass people are few and far between. It’s hard to find them, and once you find them, it’s important to make sure they’ll stick around.
Lesson 3: Know your cash flow velocity to grow
The last one I’ll leave you with is cash flow. We’ve all heard the mantra “Cash is King”, but at budget time, I’ve seen it take a back seat to Balance Sheets and Profit and Loss statements. Particularly in a growing business, without the capital required to support that growth, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Reflecting on your past financial year, it’s time to look at the way money flows through your organisation and how long it takes to get the money from delivering your product/offer/service. And then looking ahead for the coming FY, understand where funds will be required to support the initiatives and growth that has been planned.
So whilst EOFY can feel like a crazy maelstrom, like any time, it’s important to carve out some reflection and planning time to identify and capture lessons that you can learn from to improve yourself and your organisation.
Chief Executive Officer