As we move in to September many small business owners may just be getting back into the swing of things after all the fun and distractions of summer, but believe it or not the 4th quarter and the end of the year is nearly upon us.
What can a business owner do to prepare for the last quarter and make sure the New Year starts off with a bang? Here’s a quick checklist of things you can do now to finish the year strong and start the new one fresh.
- Look at your profit and loss statement– It’s important to know where you stand now, rather than after the first of the year. If you’re fortunate enough to have more profit than expected you may want to consider a major purchase that can be depreciated. Make sure you have the cash and talk to your accountant if you are not clear of the depreciation rules.
- Verify your 1099 information – Verify your 1099 information is setup properly in your accounting system. If you don’t have proper information from each vendor, ask for it now, then create a form to use every year.
- Start planning for your client holiday gifts and cards- Don’t wait until the last minute. Order client holiday gifts and cards now so they arrive in time.
- Create budgets for the New Year – If your fiscal years coincides with the calendar year, start budgeting now for the New Year.
- Write out all your accomplishments for the year and share them with your staff they’ll appreciate it!
- Clean up your email list – Are there people on your list who haven’t responded or opened an email all year? Now might be the time to clean up that list and purge inactive users.
- Perform a website audit – Check all the links and auto responders on your website to make sure they’re still working. Double check pages for expired offers or promos and delete any pages that are no longer relevant.
- Record your year-end mileage- If you use your vehicle for work, write down your year-end mileage so you have it handy when it’s time to meet with your accountant.
- Make a copy of your current year calendar – Your business calendar documents your work life: your travel, meetings and more. It’s a valuable record. Save a PDF report of your entire year.
- Backup your files – You don’t want to risk losing a years’ worth of client information, financial data, marketing content, and other files. Assemble all these files into a single folder dated with the year. Send a copy to a cloud backup such DropBox, keep a copy on an external hard drive separate from your computer, and keep another copy on your computer’s hard drive.
- Have a strategic planning session for the New Year – Now is a great time to meet with your leadership team, board of directors, advisory council, consultants, advisors, and staff to help plan the future of your business. Getting feedback from trusted advisors, staff and even customers can be a great way to shape the future of your business.
What are some of the things you do in your business to close out the year?