Is Your Business Ready for the New Year?

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Getting Business Ready for the New Year

business ready cardThis time a year is my favorite of them all, but probably not for the reasons you would think. As a small business owner, I enjoy the end of the year because it’s a slow time for me in my line of work and leaves me plenty of time to get my business ready for the new year. My clients are all out doing their holiday thing while I’m here at home doing mine; my year-end-wrap-up and working for David at The Coupon Wizards!

As I was organizing my files and compiling my list of goals for my business next year, I thought to myself, “There must be others in the same boat as me.” Owning a small business and getting ready to wrap up their year, but maybe you have no clue as to what you should be doing. Therefore, I thought I would give you my list of year-end activities that I feel are imperative to the success of your business in the new year to come.

Business Ready? Out with the Old and In with the Newthrowing papers

My favorite activity is purging. I love going through everything I’ve gathered over the year and giving what I no longer need the old heave hoe! Sometimes I wonder where some of it even came from! It’s very liberating to see the spaces cleared, making my business ready for the coming year. Some items take some thought though, so don’t just start tossing for the sheer joy of it. You must have acquired it for some reason. If the reason has passed, or you can easily get it again in the future if need be, out it goes. Below are the types of items I find myself sorting through each & every year:

  • Any and all files, both paper and computerized. I’m not talking tax-related documents, I’m speaking of miscellaneous papers; memos, letters, brochures, articles, printed &/or saved emails, that type of thing. Is it outdated? Can it be acquired again easily? Is it simply unnecessary? Out it goes!
  • Magazine & journal subscriptions. Do you read them? Are they as relevant to your business as you once thought? Do they fit in your budget for next year? If they are not pertinent or necessary for your business, cancel them and toss old issues you do not want to keep. You can always snip an article or two, but do you really need & want all that clutter?
  • File categories. I find that my categories change year after year, depending on the type of clients I’m working with. If your categories change too, change up your files. If not, create new files for the new year and store any old ones you need to keep. My rule of thumb is, if it isn’t a file I use on at least a weekly basis, it gets stored outside of my work area.
  • Same goes for my computer. I reorganize my files on my computer each year as well. I archive files I need to keep, but that don’t need to be easily accessed. I also only keep the folders in My Documents that I use on a weekly basis. What’s on my desktop? Nothing except my My Documents folder and the gateways to my software and hard drive. Everything else is hidden within.
  • Computer software. If you need an upgrade, upgrade it. If it’s a software program you no longer use, get rid. If necessary, look into Managed Service Prices Melbourne way, or wherever your business is, to have someone check out your software and computer needs for you.
  • Office supplies. If you’re like me, you’ve acquired an abundance over the year. Keep only what is necessary and you will USE within the year, donate or give away the rest.
Find Homes for Everything Left

Once you’ve paired down your files, supplies, software, etc., if they don’t already have a home, find one for them. Also remember to only keep those files and such at your fingertips that need to be there. All others can be stored in another place, away from your work space. There are many files and other items that you need to keep indefinitely. I get that, I have them too. Find an alternate storage place for them. If they are not something you refer to or use on at least a weekly basis, stow them someplace else.

Business Ready Taxes

My business is not tax-related in any way. In fact, taxes make me cringe; that’s what accountants are for. So sorry, I’m not going to be giving you any advice in that arena. However, there are some things that you, as a business owner, can do to help your accountant, or you if you do them yourself, with the year-end activities.

  • Gather all your receipts and records from your files in preparation for next year’s taxes, both yearly and for the 4th quarter we’re currently leaving.
  • Store any records that pertained to past quarters, that your account won’t need for the current one. (Speak to your accountant about which records need to be kept indefinitely and how long for others.) Remember, if you don’t refer to it weekly, it needs to be stored outside of your work space.
  • Do you have any purchases that need to be made? Give it some thought and then speak to your accountant as to whether you should make them before year’s end to put them on this year or wait till next?
  • By the same token, do you have any payments that need depositing? Find out from your accountant whether they should wait until the next year. As in, would it be better to defer income to next year’s taxes?
  • How about donations? Do you have some to make before year end? Make them now.
  • Are there any records that need to be scanned? It is a lot easier to store records on your computer than paper records in your home. A lot safer in a lot of cases too! If you have a lot of scanning to do, get cracking!
Review your Business Plan or Goals to Become Business Ready

Do you have a business plan? If not, maybe this would be a good time to make one! Or perhaps you make goals for your business every year. Whichever practice you follow, this is the best time to review all that. Take some time to reflect on the year and ask yourself these questions:

  • What have I achieved this year in my business?
  • What did I not achieve that I would like to leave as a goal for next year?
  • What worked well and what did not?
  • Where can improvements be made and what should I continue to do?
  • Am I reaching the type of client I want? If not, how can I?

I’m sure you can think of other pertinent questions, but these are the top ones that I find help me to reflect on all that went well and reveal what did not to help get my business ready for the new year. If you’re finding it difficult to pinpoint what areas your business was struggling in, it might be worth looking online for a company that can help you write customer survey. These will provide you with valuable feedback about what you can do better. Once you’ve made your new list of goals or have updated your business plan, it’s time to consider how you’re going to implement them and grow your business. Some things to consider are:

  • Where should my advertising dollars be spent next year? Try and get the whole year figured out if you can. Most advertising sources, whether print or online, give you a discount if you buy a yearly package.
  • Where should my marketing dollars be spent? Should you hire a marketing company? Do print materials? Should you invest in your own slitters cutters creasers so you can make them in-house? Upgrade your website?
  • Do I have any major upgrades to make? Do I need a new computer, printer, vehicle, etc.? And if so, when will be a good time to make those purchases next year? (Might be a good time to speak to that accountant again.)
  • What is the best way to reach my ideal clientele?
  • Could my schedule use some work? Do I have room for new clients? Is there a better way to accommodate the ones I currently have?

It was a good year. It certainly had its up and downs but what year doesn’t? While you’re taking time out to reflect and reorganize your business for the new year, also take some time to celebrate those successes! You owe it to yourself to be grateful for YOURSELF and all your many talents and abilities. If it wasn’t for you, there would be no business! If you can afford to, buy yourself a little something because you deserve it. Nothing for the business or your family, but something just for you. I wish you and yours a very merry and prosperous new year and your business, the most success!

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