The end of the year is nearly here – bringing with it an array of busyness for all business owners.
Don’t let the excitement of the most wonderful time of the year sweep you off your business feet, though.
Take advantage of these last few months of the year to maximize revenue, expand visibility, and get geared up for 2016.
Here are 15 things that you need to do as a small business owner before the end of the year:
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Looking for some last-minute tax credits? Take a look around your office and determine if there are any office supplies or furniture you would like to donate. Make a cash donation to a local charity or non-profit. Remember to receive documentation to file along with your taxes.
2. Gather Tax Info
Do you have all your documentation in place for when tax season rolls around? Make sure you have all your employee information up to date, your accounting is in order, and that you have documentation for everything you plan to claim. There are several tax breaks for self-employed people too that may apply, so do a little research.
3. Get Organized
Don’t wait for January 1 to add this item to your to-do list when it comes to your small business. A well-organized workspace means more productivity and time for you to focus on your customers and products. Clean your personal work station and get rid of anything that may be hindering your productivity. Do the same for your entire office, and your digital workspace too.
4. Celebrate Employees
When was the last time you thanked the people who keep your business running smoothly all year long? Even if you don’t have money in your budget for an elaborate party or gift, order lunch for the office or at least send a personal note or email that says how much you appreciate them.
5. Revisit Your Mission
Most small business owners start with a big dream and a lot of energy behind it. While that passion is what makes a small business attractive to consumers, that dream often gets a little tattered over time. Spend a little time revisiting the “why” of your business. How has it changed? How is it the same? Most importantly, how will you focus on it in the coming year?
6. Freshen Up Your Website
Redesigning an entire site is expensive and time-consuming, but spending just a few hours updating the site you already have can make a big difference. Look over your homepage, about us page, and of course, any product listings to make sure they all fit into your current small business branding. If you’ve had a new logo created make sure it is uploaded and visible and be sure you have share buttons for all of your social media accounts.
7. Review Contracts
Look over the vendors and freelancers you work with and decide if they are all living up to your expectations. It may be worth your time to shop around some of your services, but remember that a better price does not always equal better quality. If you are genuinely happy with the product or service represented by a contract, then it may be worth contacting that individual or company to see if you can get a better rate.
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8. Set Goals for 2016
Don’t drag your feet. If there is something you KNOW you want to accomplish next year then write it down now, and start taking action. Make sure you don’t only write your goals; write out the steps you need to take to reach them.
9. Say “Thank You” to Customers
Go above and beyond the typical email receipt that has the words “thank you” in it and find a heartfelt way to tell your customers that you appreciate them. Consider offering a loyal customer discount code, or coupon for something free. You may even want to ask for their feedback to improve your brand.
10. Revisit Your Social Media Campaigns
How many social media accounts do you have, and how often are you updating them? You don’t need a social media presence everywhere, but if you do have an account, be sure you are adding fresh content at least a few times per week. Don’t have the time to keep all of your social media channels current? Consider delegating the task to another employee or outsourcing it to a social media specialty company.
11. Clean Out Your Inbox
Go through your email inbox and address any messages you’ve yet to answer. Put read emails in their proper folders. If you are getting a lot of email newsletters or from businesses you aren’t interested in, open the messages and click “unsubscribe” at the bottom.
12. Review Insurance Policies
Do you know what parts of your business are covered? Do you know what you are actually paying to have listed? Go over your insurance policies and make any changes, particularly if your company has grown or downsized since the last time you looked at your insurance.
13. Review Utility Bills
Are you taking advantage of every discount offered to you? Do you pay too much for internet or would you benefit from an upgrade? Like your insurance policies, sit down with your utility bills and make sure you know exactly what you are paying for, and what you might be missing.
Attend those holiday parties thrown by your local Chamber of Commerce and look for community events where you can set up a table and spread some goodwill. Get out from behind your desk and get your face in front of your potential customer base.
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15. Take Some Time Off
It may seem counterproductive to walk away from your work, but it can actually be just the rejuvenation your small business needs. Small business owners who take time off come back refreshed and with clearer vision. It also gives you the opportunity to delegate tasks to other people and allow the leaders in your small business to shine.
What other tasks do you hope to complete by the end of 2015?