The holidays are upon us, and if you haven’t quite gotten into the spirit yet, soon you may be inundated with shopping, cooking, and entertaining, in addition to running your business. Maybe you’re already thinking about personal New Year’s Resolutions, but you also need to consider your business and ensure it starts 2018 on the right foot.
Here are some tips to get you ready for the coming year.
1. Prepare for Tax Time
The worst thing you can do is wait until April 14th to start gathering your tax documents. Keeping your receipts and other documents organized all year round will make the process so much easier and painless come the beginning of the year. And, if you’ve been making quarterly estimated tax payments, this can help you get a better of idea of what you’ll need to pay. You can use your accounting software to accurately estimate these payments. Rather than waiting until everyone’s schedules get completely overbooked, call your accountant, tax preparer or financial advisor now to schedule an appointment.
2. Review Payroll and Benefits
It’s always a good practice to review your payroll system to ensure only current employees are listed. Suppose an employee got married or moved – now would be a prime time to update employees’ personal information, too. Healthcare insurance rates can change from year to year. Evaluate your current benefits plan and see if it makes sense to consider a new provider to ensure the best possible coverage for your employees.
3. Keep and Toss
While you’re taking the time to organize paperwork and review payroll, it’s a good time to look at your digital and paper records and determine what needs to be kept and what can go. The length of time to keep a document or file depends on its purpose. As you go through files, make sure all of your vendor contracts, agreements, etc. are valid and current.
4. Analyze Your Business Goals and Objectives
Review your list of objectives and goals you wanted to accomplish over the past year. How did you do? Did you reach these goals? Based on your performance, create a new set of objectives and goals to shoot for in the coming year. Keep in mind, your goals should be quantifiable and accountable. It’s easy enough to say “I want to increase my sales next year.” Dig a little deeper. How much of an increase? How are you going to get to that goal?
5. Assess Staffing Needs
Getting to your goals might require additional staffing. Consider how your team will handle each objective and determine where there is a gap. This may also be a good time to understand if there are processes you can streamline to use your employees more effectively for other tasks that will help you get to your desired performance goals.
6. Audit Inventory
Whether you sell goods or perform a service, take time to audit your inventory, supplies, and office equipment. See if the information you have on file matches what you have in stock, and look for any damaged or depreciated items.
7. Send a Holiday Greeting
Consider sending a holiday greeting to your customers. Maybe it’s a card to thank them for their business, or a coupon or special offer to show your appreciation and get them to return. It’s always nice to receive something heartfelt and unexpected, and your kind gesture keeps you at the top of their mind.
8. Review Your Payment Processing Needs
As you evaluate your business goals and think about ways to increase your customer base and your profits, don’t overlook your payment acceptance process. Make the checkout experience convenient, giving your customers a reason to return with multiple payment options like Apple Pay or NFC terminals. Or, consider using one payment provider for all of your transactions. This will not only reduce costs by eliminating vendors, but also give you more insight into your sales and help you track funding with centralized reporting.