For some businesses, the financial year of 2019/20 will be one to forget, but not for all. Some have innovated and evolved to thrive within our rapidly changing environment.

At Bentleys, we want all businesses to emerge from the pandemic being stronger and more resilient. The new financial year is the perfect time to reflect, to strategise, to implement positive change to fortify your business.

It’s time to stop and think about where your business is headed, where you want to be, and how best to get there.

It can be difficult to know where to start. To make things simpler, we’ve set out five steps to help you plan for the year ahead.

1. Set clear business goals

Do you have big aspirations for your business, and not sure how to tackle them? Are you innovating and evolving your business fast enough to remain competitive?

Setting goals – while cliché – is critical. But the way you do it can determine your chances of success.

Figures say the more clearly you articulate and visualise your goals, the greater chance you have of reaching them.

According to Forbes, a person who vividly describes or pictures their goals is “anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals” than one who doesn’t.

Write your goals down. It forces you to focus, and means your goal won’t get lost in among your countless other thoughts.

If you’re working towards a big goal, break it down into smaller, more manageable and measurable steps to increase your chances of getting it done.

Try to keep pushing yourself to reach your full potential. Look after your own wellbeing. Set goals to keep you motivated to achieve more.

2. Review your business plan

When was the last time you made a change to your business plan? Does it suitably reflect today’s environment and an emerging new normal?

Business plans are living, breathing documents, and updating yours should be part of your regular routine.

Review your value proposition (here are some great examples). What are your customers really buying from you? What problems is your product or service solving? Where is the need?

Analyse changing trends and technologies. What will your customers need post-COVID? Where are the gaps in the market? Are there new competitors to be aware of?

You could find new business opportunities, or identify an effective response to a key threat.

Check in and see where your business fits in the market. Review your target markets, customers and competitors.

3. Develop efficient business processes

Is your business efficient? Are you getting the timely information you need to run your business?

Put time aside to making sure your business remains competitive with efficient processes, timely metrics and good compliance.

Start the financial year with a clean slate, and it needn’t be a chore if you’ve got the right systems in place. has some great record keeping tips for small business owners.

If you’re a growing or mid-to-large sized business, you might think about investing in cloud solutions if you haven’t already.

You can always speak to a Bentleys advisor to help determine what system is best for your business.

4. Upskill in areas across your business

As your business evolves and grows, so should you.

Being a small business owner, it’s likely you are one person wearing numerous hats.

This financial year, set a goal to prioritise developing your skills across all areas of your business.

The internet is full of information and the more you start to look into something, the more you’ll realise how much you don’t know.

Stay up-to-date in design trends, learn how to craft a compelling marketing email, or discover more about how to leverage the latest social media tools.

It could even be watching a TED Talk, taking a free online course, subscribing to a business journal, or perhaps even taking the plunge and enrolling in a formal qualification.

5. Innovate for success

Our environment is changing more rapidly than ever before. Are you evolving fast enough to meet the needs of your market? How will build your customer base and your business profitability post COVID?

Innovation is the key to your business’ success.

It means thinking outside the box to design new, more effective ways of doing things, and it goes hand-in-hand with Step 2 (reviewing your business plan).

In your business, innovation can involve new ways of interacting and building relationships with customers, creating more effective processes, improving services or coming up with new products. outlines some of the practical steps you can take towards becoming more innovative, and navigating change and growth.

We, at Bentleys, are doing everything we can to help businesses come out of this challenging time in good shape.

We will continue to update our COVID-19 resource hub with important developments, so please return soon.

Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.

COVID-19: A summary of Australia's tax measures

The governments of Australian states and territories have also released independent stimulus packages. For an overview of all Australian measures, click here.

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