As your organization grows and matures, needs change. The people who started providing services and solutions in the past may have been the right people at that time, but are they the best option for your organization today? Until you have these conversations, you don’t know what you don’t know – and what you don’t know could come back to bite you.
Before the end of the year, it’s a good idea to reach out to certain people who support your organization. Discuss the nature of your business right now, the issues you’re facing, what they have done for your business in the past, and what needs to be done to support your business, now and in the future.
Think of each conversation as a mini checkup for your business, just like an annual checkup with your doctor. You may not be experiencing any glaring problems, and that’s great. Your current providers could very well be capable of providing the quality and scope of services you need.
However, you should still assess the state of your business and take steps to prevent future problems from happening. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll be better prepared to address unforeseen issues instead of scrambling for a fix after the fact.
We’ve broken down the list of people who should be hearing from you before the end of the year into three categories.
- Professional Service Providers
This category focuses on services that require specialized training, education, or expertise in key areas of your business.
Your lawyer. Do you need to update your legal documents? Should terms and conditions on your website be updated? Do you need to tighten up the language in your engagement letters, agreements, or any other forms or documents to reduce confusion and liability?
Your tax professional. As you prepare to close the current year and plan for next year, are there steps you should consider taking that would provide a valuable tax benefit? Is all financial information being recorded, categorized, and reported correctly?
Your insurance agent. Do you have the right coverage in place? Are there any gaps in coverage that need to be filled? This is especially important if your organization has grown in terms of people, facilities, and customers.
Your marketing agency/consultant. Is the information on your website, social media pages, print collateral, and other marketing assets current, accurate, and consistent? Do your existing logo and branding still represent who you are as a company and what clients expect from you?
IT service/software providers. Are your subscriptions up to date? Does your security platform meet compliance standards for data privacy and security? Are you paying for software that you no longer use? Are there opportunities for automation? Has your plan for responding to a security incident been documented and tested?
2) Operational Support Services
Services that support your day-to-day business operations can vary greatly but also provide opportunities for improvement. For example:
Do you need a payroll company with the resources to grow with your business and meet all state and federal reporting requirements?
Is time to update your employee benefits package (health insurance, retirement plans, continuing education, etc.)?
Should you upgrade your accounting software or move to a new plan with more features and capabilities?
Are you considering outsourcing a variety of administrative tasks (answering phones, responding to emails, setting appointments, customer support, etc.) so your team can focus on higher-value tasks?
Review every relationship and agreement to determine the value to your organization, weigh value versus cost, increase or decrease certain types of services, and validate whether your needs are being met.
Telecom providers. Should you upgrade your communication platform? Does it support enough users and provide the features and functionality you need to run and grow your business?
Printer/copier maintenance. Are you printing and copying more or less today than the last time you reviewed those metrics? Should you update your maintenance and toner replenishment plans?
Cleaning service. Should you be cleaning more or less frequently based on current activities and foot traffic in your facility? Were you paying extra for Covid protocols that are no longer needed?
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Are your employees and customers comfortable? Have you validated that your indoor air quality meets clean air standards for your industry? When was the last time you assessed the performance and efficiency of your system?
To be clear, your list may be different than this one, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to contact everyone today. This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Start with the areas that might need the most attention or deliver the most value to your organization.
As you make your way through the list, you’ll become more comfortable with different areas of your business. Just as importantly, this process can give you peace of mind heading into next year because you’ll have a deeper understanding of your company as a whole.