Are you ready for the New Year?
It isn’t just about parties and champagne when you own a small business.
For a small business, in most cases, being ‘ready’ also means:
- Closing out the accounting for the year,
- Organizing and filing away the previous year’s records,
- Developing 1099s, W2s, and final quarter tax reporting,
- Reviewing potential ‘needs’ for growth in the New Year, and
- Reviewing items that need attention for improvement,
all the while continuing with your daily routine of handling projects, employees, contractors, and inquiries.
As a small business owner, the party comes when those items are complete, and completed without interrupting the quality you offer your clients. If we can get that finished and still have hair and without depleting the nation’s coffee supply, then we can celebrate.
Some things we can do to make that end of the year rush go smoother:
- Find a bookkeeping program and use it. Make sure to enter and file receipts as soon as possible. Find out from your tax person/CPA which program they use and find one compatible if possible. Closing your year and sending an accountant’s copy is faster and easier, and more complete, than trying to develop spreadsheets and sending packages of receipts.
- If you haven’t done it yet, begin a filing system that makes sense to you. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to someone else. If you need something, you will be able to find it. Once you have done that, then train someone else to handle your filing using the same method you use. Now, not only do you have assistance with the mundane chores, you have backup for when you may not be available. And that filing system should be for both current and ongoing items as well as what you have in storage from previous years.
- That bookkeeping program I mentioned, find out if it provides the data for your 1099s and w2s you need to develop. Most, like Quickbooks, have the information handy, even if you do not pay for the premium versions. You just have to play with the program and get used to where those reports are. As a bonus, Quickbooks for Dummies is a great read.
- You’ve worked the entire year with established and new clients. You handled projects you have never worked before and may have spoken with potential clients on bidding for new projects. Whether you won new projects or had repeat clients, be sure you research what your niche’ needs, what others are offering, or what others are looking for. Reflect on those items you may need to improve or offer so the New Year allows you better opportunities for growth.
- You may have also kept in contact with your clients over the years, but be sure to keep that connection and communication open before, during, and after a project. Ask for feedback and make note of those concerns your clients have with regard to your finished product. A complaint is not a bad thing if you can use it to improve what you offer. Just be sure to work to improve it. That one client complaint, if ignored, will soon become a complaint of many if left unchecked. It is only a plus to be able to have a client who complained, come back for a second try, and you can make them happy.
Keep in mind this preparation is not just for clients. You should be reviewing your vendor list, chart of accounts, and even your supplies are current and appropriate for the New Year.
And lastly, review the social media sites where you have profiles and update them, keep them fresh and relevant. Remember, this will be something your clients or potential clients will review, as well as others who may not need your services but are researching for others who may. Having a pretty picture and no description of what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for will just end up being a pretty picture better posted on Instagram.
So I ask again, are you ready?