As we march through July, it’s likely you’re now in the thick of tidying away your previous financial year and going through the process of ATO compliance. But have you put much thought into starting your business’s new financial year with a clean slate?

Many small business owners wade through the EOFY and just keep trotting along – business as usual. But there is so much value in capitalising on this time of year and resetting or at least recalibrating how you approach business.

The nuts and bolts of compliance and financials

It’s gotta be done! Get your tax returns filed, clear off the books ready to start fresh and tidy up all the loose ends. Have a chat with your bookkeeper or accountant to see if you missed anything and get some advice on how to reset your financial calendar.

Trawl through your treasure trove of data and act on it

The last decade has seen businesses worldwide adopt new software and technology for a range of purposes such as:

  • accounting and bookkeeping
  • customer relationship management
  • marketing automation
  • social media
  • advertising
  • website
  • Google Analytics.

In this data is some serious treasure! The only barrier is that you must look at the data and put these insights into action. You can compile reports and discover things about your operations, but you also have to use that information to change your behaviour.

Google Analytics delves into your website visitation and most viable demographics; accounting software will tell you how well you went financially and how to improve things like cash flow and budgeting; your CRM will inform you how well you engage your customers; and your social media accounts will illuminate your most engaging content.

The point is – by analysing your data, you will discover what works and what doesn’t. This is when you take notes and make informed decisions on whether to alter your course. Embrace and double down on what worked. Eliminate what didn’t.

Take a serious look behind you

Gut check time. What did you like about your business performance last year? Were there niggling things that you wanted to change? Now’s the time.

This doesn’t have to be purely budgetary or financial (clearly those are important too), but more about growing and building your business to fit your lifestyle and passion. When you keep innovating and moving forward, you keep the fire in your belly stoked – so don’t be afraid to change things about your business that weren’t quite right.

Dust off your business plan

Your business plan is a living document. Don’t let it get lonely, sitting there gathering dust on your hard drive.

So, after you’ve run reports on your accumulated data, mixed the insights with your personal knowledge and even gut feel – feel confident in making concrete changes to your business plan.

It may just be an iterative change, like updating the competitive landscape, or it could be rather severe, like changing your whole business model and forgoing bricks and mortar for online selling.

Whatever the case, you should solidify your new learnings into a new plan. By plotting it out and writing it down – you’ll make it real.

Set new goals and a new budget

Once you’ve updated your business plan, spend some time reflecting on the current financial climate and what last year’s budget looked like. What can you do to trim the fat?

This might involve looking for new suppliers or removing unnecessary expenditures. It might mean being more realistic with your budget or investing for growth.

Whatever the case, it should align with renewed goals. Do you want to grow your revenue by 10%? Enter new markets? Expand your offerings? Map it out and make it happen.

Look at your software and technology

New software and tech come to market like weeds in the garden. They pop up quickly. While you don’t need to grab every new solution, there will be a few of your systems that need modernising.

Don’t upgrade just for the sake of something shiny – do it because it makes financial sense and will make you more efficient.

Consider more effective ways of:

  • taking payments and invoicing
  • doing your books
  • interacting with customers
  • using social media for marketing
  • updating your website
  • doing regular and monotonous work.

Refresh your brand

If it’s been a while, you should take a hard look at your branding. Branding should be periodically modernised and refreshed to keep up with the times and display momentum in your business.

At the very least, if a brand refresh is not on the cards, you should look through your socials, business listings, and of course your website, to ensure consistency. Keep it fresh and clean!