Caitlin Sykes

Caitlin Sykes is the NZ Herald's Your Business editor

Small business: End of financial year - Craig Colman

Craig Colman is founder and director of Colman Limited, a design, web, print and marketing company based in Palmerston North.

Craig Colman, founder and director, Colman Limited
Craig Colman, founder and director, Colman Limited

What does the end of the financial year mean for you in your business?
The end of the financial year is a revision and reflection time for the business. We look at what we have done financially and at our client base. It is important for us to move forwards, so aligning ourselves with larger corporate clients, in turn, will help us to progress.

After we hear back from our accountant we go over our figures and plan for the next year to see what we could be doing better and who we can focus our marketing efforts on.

We do find at the end of financial year that time is always our main issue - trying to find time to go over the previous year's figures and also budget for the next one to 10 years' growth is a challenge. However, by doing this it helps us evaluate where we are heading and how we can pursue our ideal client to gain a stronger presence in the marketplace along with more profitable results.

What are some of your strategies for easing that time pressure?

We set aside time throughout the year to plan and look over what is happening in the business, both financially and also with regard to our client base. This helps us keep our direction and figures on track so there are no hidden surprises at this time of year.

We have also employed extra staff to take on some of the workload, freeing Sandy - our studio manager - and myself up to have more time to really evaluate the business and focus on how the company can work smarter. We also work closely with our business mentor and accountant for guidance.

Can you tell me a bit more about how you use this time of year to reflect on your progress and plan for the future?

This time of year is our deadline to see how the last year went for us and it's definitely a time for reflection. Even though we plan and constantly evaluate the progress of the company throughout the year, we use the end of the financial year as a checkpoint to look over the last 12 months and the 12 months prior to help us navigate the next 12 months, as well as the next five to 10 years of business growth.


We set mini goals throughout the year and then follow this on with major goals that we aim to achieve. We plan our marketing strategies based on what shifts have happened in the market and also what developments we have had within the company.

We evaluate our team and what their strengths are while looking at where we can best place them to assist our clients. We also pay attention to who we have aligned ourselves with externally.

Our aim for the next 12 months is to focus on the lower North Island and to become the largest design, web, print and marketing company in the region. To do this, we have achieved a goal we had set previously and purchased a larger studio that we intend to move into in the next 12 months.

What advice would you have for other small business owners grappling with this busy time of year?

Manage the business throughout the year, rather than leaving everything until the end of financial year. When I first started Colman Ltd I thought the end of the financial year was the prime time to do everything, but in reality we should constantly be looking at the internal and external functions of the business, as well as our financial situation and goals. I would suggest using the end of the financial year as a point to review the previous year along with the years ahead.

- NZ Herald

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