As 2010 comes to a close, it’s wise for business owners to get those end-of-the-year tasks completed so you can ring in a productive and less stressful new year. And it’s not too late to start now in setting up your business to be organized, productive, and profitable for 2011. Here’s a checklist to help you do just that. –Janell Hazelwood
1. Gather financial documents in preparation for tax season. Be sure your receipts and other verification paperwork are filed appropriately and ready to present to your tax preparer or accountant. Gather receipts that could count toward deductions that relate to business expenses or charitable giving. Be aware of any tax changes or modifications that could affect your filing.
3. Make plans to tie up those loose ends from 2010. Get old projects off your to-do list promptly. If you can’t complete a task or deadline for 2010, whether it’s to clean out your office, pay off a debt, collect a debt, or finish a project, arrange a solid plan of action and set new goals to resolve these issues.
4. Look over your business plan and update accordingly. If you’ve had any changes, such as downsizing or an upsweep in clients and revenue, you may want to adjust some tenets of your plan. Be sure the elements of your plan are up-to-date and numbers are current for the new year. Reevaluate your goals and how you’ll attack them moving forward.
5. Be sure your insurances and other business protection items are up-to-date. Be clear on any changes to coverage or increases in premiums with any insurance your company has, whether for the business, yourself or your employees.
7. Think of ways to upgrade your business brand or increase clientele or visibility. Put a plan together on how to execute such measures, such asrevamping your marketing, upgrading services, or adjusting services or customer offerings. Find ways to save time and money when doing everyday tasks and determine what technologies could help in doing so.
8. Trim the fat. Determine areas where you could save on expenses, such as utilities, or get rid of expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary. Evaluate cost vs. return and/or importance and make changes accordingly.
9. Place reminders on your calendar for 2011 deadlines such as vehicle registration renewals, tax days, filing deadlines for important paperwork, special holidays and special events, and be sure to prep for business expenses and necessities.
11. Create a 2011 file. Start now in organizing for 2011. Make files to plan new projects, organize tax documents that will be needed to file for taxes next year, and other folders (whether digital or physical) that can already be ready for filling with important items. For more on small business success in the new year: