Focus on finishing the year strong

Most of this year has flown by with only four weeks left before most businesses and institutions close down for a well-deserved break.

With the holiday season coming into view, it’s tempting to take your foot off the accelerator and cruise towards the year’s end. Don’t.

These last few weeks are when you should be making the most of those lessons learned and preparing for the year ahead.

So, what does the term, finishing strong mean to you?

How will you finish this year; your top three projects; the next big deals or in the most compelling goals of your life?

Finish strong in all of the things you started.

Most people are really good at starting. They get caught up in the excitement and enthusiasm because of the newness and possibilities. But with anything that’s significant, there will be hard work involved.

One of the ways you can gauge how well you are finishing is to simply take a look at what you actually finished.

It can be extremely frustrating for a leadership team or organisation to function under the guidance of someone who continually starts things, but never sees them through to completion.

You will be more effective if you finish strong in three important areas. Here are the three P’s:

Finish strong in your projects – this focuses on what you do. If you start something, you need to finish it. If it is a project that will carry on past your year, ensure that leadership is in place to carry it on. A project that dies when you leave is a poor reflection on your leadership.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is.

The question is, are you making money or is it costing you more to be in business than it should?

Don’t ignore knowing your numbers and what your cost of doing business is.

Here are some numbers that you should know and review: cash flow, net income, profit and loss, sales, price point, gross margin, total inventory.

To finish the year strong, get some financial help through your bank, investment advisor or business consultant.

Finish strong with people – this focuses on who you know. Relationships you built this year may have an impact over the rest of your life. If a relationship is going to end, make sure it ends well. Take time to celebrate with the people who helped throughout this current year.

Conduct a year-end review, as this allows you to really assess how you made progress in your purpose and goals.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you sit down and reflect.

What went well in the past year?

What were some of your major challenges?

What were some key lessons that you’ve learned this year?

What is one thing that you want to focus on moving into the year ahead?

What does a purpose-driven year look and feel like to you?

Finish strong as a person – this focuses on who you are. How many times have you seen someone have to separate or leave his or her position because of some mistake.

You don’t want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for. Your integrity and character is always with you, whether you’re in a leadership position or not. A year’s worth of effort can be damaged in a moment of poor decision-making.

Here are three areas to “audit” as you finish strong as a person:

Revisit your purpose or your “why”.

Go over your values and motivations.

Understand and leverage your strengths.

“No matter what kinds of choices you’ve made over the course of the past year, if you’re still in your position near the end, you have the opportunity to create a great finish,” says author Tim Milburn.

Let’s finish strong in our projects; with people, and in ourselves.

Steve Reid is the manager of the Centre for Entrepreneurship (CFE) at False Bay College. Entrepreneurs with creative ideas in manufacturing can also contact the CFE at 021 201 1215.