By Sherrell T. Martin
I can’t believe it’s almost 2016. I mean it seems like just yesterday we were enjoying summer and the day before that we were ringing in 2015. Time flies and waits for no one. And as a business owner it seems like it flies by even faster.
But what we can’t do is let it fly by so fast that we don’t take the time to adjust the reins on this train of entrepreneurship. See, my office is closed for the next two weeks.
Yes that’s right closed. We take Christmas week off to prepare for the holidays and relax with family. We then take the second week off from client work and work on ourselves and the business. This is the week we get caught up on all of our certifications; and the week we do these annual top 10 business development steps to prepare for the upcoming year.
We spend all year helping our clients keep their numbers straight and get their operational flow right. But I also have to take the time to make sure I do the same for our company Nitram Financial Solutions. And I want you to do the same thing too. So during the holiday break, take a couple of days to get your business in order and ready for 2016 by addressing these 10 areas of your business.
Tax planning – Tax planning is the one thing that will keep you from having the surprise of your life in April. If business has been booming all year, send your tax accountant the most recent Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss and tell them you need to know if you need to increase your 4th quarter tax payment or if your original voucher is alright to send. If you don’t have a voucher or you have not been making estimated payments all year, then you may have to start raiding the piggy banks and the sofa.
Estimated tax payment – Now that your tax accountant has told you the amount of estimated taxes you need to make before December 31, for your state, and January 15th for the IRS, PLEASE PAY THEM. The whole point of tax planning and estimate payments is to prevent you from have to pay a large lump sum in April and avoid penalties for underpayment of taxes during the year. So please follow the advice of your trusted advisor and make the payments. Remember if you owe taxes it means your business made money.
Receipts for major purchases – One sign of business growth is increased fixed assets. Fixed assets are the furniture, equipment and vehicle purchases that you have made to be able to continue to operate your business. These items cannot be expensed all at once. They must be depreciated over the life of the asset.
Review insurance coverage’s – One of your most important costs in your business is your insurance coverage’s. And we all know they go up every year, whether you filed a claim or not. Well now is a perfect time to review your coverage on all of your policies and make sure they are an adequate amount or that they are not providing more coverage than you need. If this is not the time for your policy to renew, and you have already done this within the last 90 days, then set a reminder on your calendar one month from the renewal to do it when it is up for renewal. This can save you lots of money.
Review contract terms – After you have reviewed your insurance coverage, review your contract terms. Then get with your attorney so they can make all the necessary changes based on the changes that have occurred within your business. You want to make sure you are properly protected in the event of a disgruntle customer or employee.
Budget – Creating a budget is one of the key documents you need to help your business thrive financially. It is designed to help you determine when the money is coming in the door, and from where, and where it is being spent. Creating and monitoring your budget will hold you accountable towards reaching your goals.
Marketing plan – Once your budget is complete and you know where your monies are going to come from and where they are going to be spent, it’s time to map out how you are going to make it all happen. A marketing plan will address questions such how and where will I market my business online or offline. Make sure it is in line with your budget. Heavy marketing can lead to increased revenue if done properly.
Review business plan – As you sit down and review your new budget and marketing plan for the upcoming year, take a look at how you are doing compared to your projections in your business plan. Are you on track to meet your goals? Is business going as planned or have you taken a left turn somewhere? Your business plan should not be stuffed in a drawer somewhere. So if it is pull it out and make the necessary adjustments to make sure that you end up exactly where you originally planned to be. And if your business has changed drastically since you created your business plan, then it may be time to update it. We use s software called Live Plan. It allows you to update your business plan easily.
Strategic plan – After you have updated your plan time to re-adjust the strategy on how we are going to blow this business out the water. This is where you will look at revenue streams, your business model and your plan for growth. Do you want to grow big or grow small? Either way you need to have an idea around how you plan to do that and what it looks like, as well as what it takes to get there.
Take a much needed break to relax and refuel – Now that you have taken the time to ensure that your business is set for the upcoming year, take some time to rest up and relax so you can take 2016 by storm! Often times when you are feeling stuck at a certain point in your business, taking a break from the day to day help clear your mind and allow new ideas to flow in.
Are there any additional things you do to prepare for the upcoming year? What are they and how do they help you?