Where are you on your end-of-the-year small business checklist? More than likely, you’ve already set next year sales and revenue goals and laid the groundwork for new products or services by now. But there still are a number of other things you should do to wrap up the old year and prepare for the new one before the clock strikes 12 on the 31st. Here are some of the things that should be on your list:
Get ready for taxes
Getting your books in order before year end should be at the top of your checklist. If you work with an accountant, before the 31st try to meet or at least schedule a call or better yet video conference from your desktop or mobile device, using a headset for audio clarity.
Review all your financial statements – balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement – to get a clear picture of your financial performance and taxes for the year. You may find it makes sense to defer income until after January 1 and make large purchases of equipment or office supplies now to maximize deductions. Also consider charitable contributions before the year end.
Time for renewals
Don’t wait for an email to remind you that your domain registration has run out. Also if you have a trademark for your business name or products, you need to file affidavits and renewals every ten years and pay a renewal fee. Check to see if there are any other licenses or permits that need renewing.
Check inventory/review pricing
If your business is about selling products, be sure to take inventory of your offerings and make any adjustments in your accounting systems as necessary. Something else to consider — any drop in the market value of your inventory may provide additional deductions.
If you provide a service, decide if it’s time to adjust your rates. You want to be sure that your rates adequately cover your time and well as costs for taxes, health insurance, retirement plans and more.
Back up your files
Make sure all your data is backed up. Considering the risks of losing data in the event of a hard drive and back-up drive crash, now would be a good time to move your small business information to the cloud, if you haven’t already.
With cloud storage, you can retrieve and upload documents anywhere you are — in the office or on the road – since all you need is an Internet connection. Cloud-based storage solutions also enhance collaboration among team members who increasingly are geographically dispersed. For example, someone can edit a document and upload it to a folder for other team members to review and comment, eliminating the need to email files to each other. When you choose a cloud storage service, you can elect to have manual, automated and/or scheduled sharing and backup.
Mind your marketing
For starters, review your website. Check all the links to make sure none are broken. Update any outdated information. Also review your social media messaging. Spend some time looking at what were your most effective posts over the year in terms of likes and shares. It may be time to rethink the type of information you want to share in new posts for the year.
Meet with your team
The end of year is a good time to meet one-on-one with your team members to talk about their performance, discussing successes as well as opportunities for improvement. These meeting may be where you let them know about merit increases or bonuses, if you have the budget for them this year. You also should plan a group meeting to discuss the goals and priorities you’ve set for your small business for next year.
From taxes to technology, marketing to motivating your team, there are a lot of things to do end of year. These are just some key items for your checklist. What other end-of-year “to dos” would you add?