Santa is not the only one who should be making a list and checking it twice this season. With 2019 upon us in T-minus 33 days, if you haven't already begun, now is a great time to complete some of the back-office work needed to keep your business running. While the fast and furious holiday activities are calling for our attention, setting aside time to complete some housekeeping in your business can help you hit the ground running in the new year.
Here are some suggestions for tasks to help you evaluate and close out the year:
- Assess Your 2018 goals: you started the year off with ambitious plans for your business. Did you achieve all that you wanted to? What worked well? What didn't work? While we are running our business, we often have tunnel vision. This assessment will help you realize all the big (and small) achievements you had during the year. Understanding where you are on the path to your goals can help you as you begin making plans in the new year.
- Paperwork Purge: it's amazing how quickly we can accumulate paper, from pieces of receipts here and there to handwritten notes with ideas and tasks. Sort and organize your files. If some items can be digitized, to so to reduce the papers on hand. Keep in mind record retention items needed for taxes or employee records so you don't accidentally throw out records vital for reporting purposes. Be sure to invest a good shredder to protect your proprietary information.
- Review Inventory: Whether you have products flying off the shelf for the holidays or are in your down time, take stock of the inventory that you have on hand. Do you have an aging inventory that needs to be cleared or put on sale? If you have old inventory that you will no longer be selling, consider making a tax-deductible donation to a charity that can benefit from them.
- Update Company Records: Often we are as good as the information that we have on hand. Review your client contacts, vendor information and employee records. This information can come in handy as you prepare to send holiday greeting cards, emails or newsletters to the key people who helped support your business during the year.
- Review Finances: tax preparation is looming ahead; reconcile your records and update transactions as needed. Ensure all sales and purchases have been recorded, review invoices and other obligations that you have not yet paid and make payments as needed. Also, review accounts with balances from customers/ Decide if you will contact them to make for payments prior to January 1st or if the balances will have to be written off.
- Plan: Now that you're beginning to see where you stand for 2018, why not also look ahead to 2019? Based on your business activities, could you use an extra pair of hands? Would new equipment or update software help you gain efficiencies in your business? Can you begin preparing your marketing schedule?
Paul Theroux noted, “winter is a season of recovery and preparation”. While not exhaustive, we hope that completing the tasks above will help you position your business for the successes ahead.