Owner of a growing business? Do one of these five things by end-of-year

MRSB partner Everett Roche, CPA, CA with some actions you can take now to set your business up for success in 2016

With 2015 over halfway through, it's a good time to reflect on how far you've come already and on what you see the rest of the year holding for your business. We know, you're busy, but as owner you should never be too busy to slow the train down - just for a bit - and consider how you can focus on the most crucial parts of your business to make things even better next year.

Think about your strategic goals

You might have taken the time for strategic planning when you first started your business, or even a couple years back. If you want to make sure you consistently live up to the ideals and goals that made you starry-eyed when you started out, and that these have evolved to reflect your current growth, strategic planning should be part of your annual process. Wendy Drake, who provides POW3R strategic planning to a wealth of businesses and organizations, explains that "today's strategic plan should be more than just a document that outlines a set of goals, then sits on a shelf. Your plan should take into account the real-life strengths and challenges faced by your business, involve all stakeholders and take a collaborative approach in seeing your goals through to action."

Clean up any loose ends

This might include liabilities that are affecting the long-term value of your business, or simply unresolved issues that are taking up too much of your time and mental space. Do you have multiple sources of debt that can be consolidated? A lingering lawsuit that could be resolved faster? Maybe you've been meaning to secure a patent on a new technology that might bring you some future profit. Whatever the shadow in the corner is, look it in the face now and get it dealt with, for good.

Develop future leaders within your team

You understand better than most the hills you must climb to become an effective leader. Why not share that knowledge with those on your team who show real promise and a willingness to take on greater responsibility? This can be especially important in cases where one or two people act as the hub of all business for the company; there will come a time when this hurts your potential value, as allowing one person to 'be' the business sets up an untenable sitution for potential buyers. As advised by Lloyd Compton, partner with MRSB Valuation & Litigation Support, "Go on vacation and see if the business can survive or thrive in your absence." If the answer is no, start cultivating that rising star within your office so that, when it counts, he or she can truly shine.

Put a succession plan in place

Closely related to developing the future leaders within your organization is the importance of a succession plan. Much more formal, this allows you peace of mind in knowing that your business will survive through your own departure. As noted by Wayne Carew, principal with MRSB Mergers & Acquisitions, "even if you plan to leave your business to family, mapping out a thorough succession plan can provide security and make the eventual transition more a reality than a possibility." You will also reap benefits in the form of tax exemptions and a better purchase price if you plan in advance and fully understand the value of your business.

Celebrate your successes

While it may seem like a no-brainer, it's surprising how often we fail to actually acknowledge the weekly, monthly and annual achievements of individual staff and of teams as a whole. These acknowledgements don't need to eat into your precious after-work hours; grab some coffee and cookies on your way to the office and let the team know it's a thank you for their hard work this past week. Or take 30 minutes once a month to host a 'party' in your boardroom, featuring cake and a slap on the back. Most team members will look forward to it, and you'll probably even get some volunteers to do the grunt work (i.e. picking up treats) on your behalf.

Four months may not sound like much time, but it gives you a tight window within which to collaborate with those around you and set some attainable goals. Who knows, by this time next year you may have ticked all of the above items off your list!