Carl Taylor Accountant and Business Consultant

4 critical actions to take before 2020

With 2019 rapidly coming to a close, 2020 is firmly on the horizon. Many businesses in the UK are facing uncertainties right now, especially with (dare we say it) Brexit looming like a cloud ahead. (see our selection of Brexit resources here to ensure you are prepared). 

But that shouldn’t stop us making clear decisions about where we’re going from here. In fact, the current uncertainties should galvanise us into action to think ahead, and to think about where we want to be in 1 – 3 years time.

The famous quote of Peter Drucker says it all – ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’.  There isn’t much point complaining, we need to get on and create the future.

Here’s 4 critical actions you should be taking now to prepare you and your business for success in 2020 and beyond:

Setting sales targets and building your sales planIt's critical that we think ahead and start setting our sales targets for 2020 now.  Start by setting your overall sales goals, but don’t leave it there.  It’s critical that you spend the time breaking your sales goals down – break them down as far as you possibly can, and challenge them from all directions.  Every business is different, which means every business will need to set their sales plan in their own unique way, but some of the key elements our clients break their sales plan down by are below:

  • By sales person
  • By market sector
  • By product group
  • Set detailed targets for existing customers, plus add targets for new customers
  • By project type
Set detailed budgets

It's critical that you start thinking ahead about your budgets for 2020.  Get all of the key stakeholders and key influencers of your budgets on board and get them to start building their overhead budgets.  Remember that we shouldn’t be budgeting for overheads to be more than 20 – 25% of your realistic and challenged sales target, so keep refining your budgets until they fit.

Get a month by month cashflow forecast in place

Break your overall financial plan into a month by month cashflow forecast, so you can see what your journey is going to look like throughout the year and take action now to mitigate any low points.

Undertake a supplier review

Review all of your suppliers and make sure they are up to supporting you with your growth plans in 2020 and beyond:

  • Can we explain our growth plans to them and ask them for more support (i.e. better terms?)
  • Can we rely on them (think bigger picture – if you are importing, think about political and economic aspects)?
  • Are we too reliant on one supplier?  Make sure you research alternatives
  • What other products can they supply?
  • How can we innovate our product offering and service offering?
While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, if you follow these 4 critical actions, you can head into 2020 with the knowledge that you are prepared for a year of success.