2018 is quickly coming to an end, and while most of us are busy fetching holiday gifts and preparing menus for Christmas parties, business owners have their schedules jam-packed with mountains of responsibilities. From reviewing accounting to checking the inventory, and adding-up expenses, this is the time of the year when your small business needs paramount attention.
As a small business owner, looking back on how your company has performed is important so that you can welcome the new year in with a bang. Whether you’ve met your annual target or you’re a few steps short of reaching your goals, it’s crucial to evaluate everything that happened. On point, business planning allows you to review the different aspects of your trade and helps facilitate proper goal setting for the upcoming year.
Check out these year-end business planning tips that will lead your company to a good start in 2019.
Where do you stand now?
Without checking the current position and standing of your business, you won’t be able to gauge how well it’s performing come year-end. You need to evaluate the overall performance of your business and check if you’ve met your goals. It’s imperative to assess each and every aspect of your trade, from accounting down to employee performance. Doing so allows you to deeply examine what went wrong, areas that need improvement, and things you could have done better to reach success.
Small business owners often assess three key areas to determine the present state of their company,finances, goals, and taxes,however this would depend on your business needs and requirements. You can opt to include operational objectives, administrative challenges, system improvements, and much more. Basically, you want to:
- Make a clear list of your achievements during the year.
- Evaluate the performance of your employees and if their goals were met.
- Have a good look at your annual spending and take note of the remaining budget.
Review your financial goals
If there’s just one aspect of your business that needs thorough evaluation, it would be none other financial goals; after all, you’ve set up a business in order to earn income. Focusing on the financial part helps shape and guide your trade towards proper use of monetary resources, where to invest money and when NOT to invest funds. Look back on how you’ve dealt with previous debts, how it impacted your operations, and how it will affect the future of your business.
Along with this, don’t forget to revisit your pricing strategy. Keep in mind that you should have a sustainable business model, one that is flexible enough to be modified in order to gain efficient results. Review how you price clients, and check if you are overpricing or underpricing your patrons.
- Make sure that your pricing compensates the time, money, and effort you’ve provided.
- Your balance sheet should reflect the assets, liabilities, and equities of your business.
- Prepare a cash flow statement to see where you spent the money; inflow vs outflow.
Don’t forget your tax planning!
Your year-end business planning wouldn’t be complete without properly managing tax records. Big or small, no business owner wants to pay taxes higher than what have been calculated. It’s a smart move to review all taxes and make necessary adjustments while there’s still time left. To avoid erroneous calculations and uncertain strategies use accounting software or sit down with an accountant and discuss all possible plans to control your business taxes.
After evaluating your records, find a way to lower your tax return in a legal and proficient manner. Some insurance premiums are considered deductible, so deliberate on this option to save money. However, make sure to steer clear of strategies that could cause more harm than good to your business, such as the zero out strategy. Other options to lower your taxes include:
- Splitting income and maximizing your depreciation claims
- Shifting proprietorship and business partnerships
- Changing the business structure from current to a corporation
Update your social media channels and data
This is also a good time to check your social media accounts and make necessary changes to overhaul or revamp the face of your business. Start by removing unnecessary sections within your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, and add new, interesting parts to improve the image of your company. Review your avatar, profile picture, “about us” section, cover photo, contact numbers etc. and make sure they are all up to date.
You should likewise check the integrity of your software, systems, and digital data. Even if you run a small business, it is important to have a strong IT department, or at least hire a trained IT professional to oversee the digital needs of your trade. With an organized, well-protected, and clearer database, it’ll be easier to manage your business in the upcoming year. Other IT suggestions include:
- Back up your data in a safe platform such as The Cloud or an external hard drive.
- Keep a digital copy of important files and documents like contracts or agreements.
- Develop and implement a file naming system to help organize files and documents.
What’s in your books for the coming year?
After you have successfully capped your year-end business planning, it’s time to take things to the next level by setting goals for your company. Visualize what you want your business to be in the coming year. For example: Do you want to prioritize growth, increase sales and profit, expand in a new branch, focus on marketing and advertising, tap the international market, or enter e-commerce trading?
Whatever goals you have, remember to keep them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Don’t let last year’s challenges hinder you from achieving your current targets. The new year is about to begin, so you have 365 days to reach all your objectives. To do this:
- Set new goals for your business following the direction you want to achieve.
- Create an action plan or set of strategies to support your objectives.
- Start working and utilize every minute to turn your goals into a tangible reality.