Overview: Are you ready for 2024? It’s only a few months away! But before you start making a list of new year’s resolutions, we’d like to suggest making a different kind of list: A list of all the things you can to do make sure your business is prepared for the new year!
As this blog post is being published, it’s still only October. It might seem like January and the associated new year are far off in the distance. But they’re closer than you think! In fact, we’ll be taking down our 2023 calendars and replacing them with 2024 editions before we know it (if you’re into old-school physical calendars, that is).
In our previous post, we talked about the importance of getting your business ready for the holiday season. But a business owner’s work is never done, and now that you’ve made those holiday preparations, it’s time to start thinking about the end of this year and the beginning of the next one.
So before you break out those 2024 novelty glasses, ask yourself: Is your business ready for the transition into the new year?
Let’s talk about one of the most essential components to running a business: Money! As you’re wrapping up the old year and ramping up for the new one, you’ll need to take a good close look at your business’s financial situation. Have you dotted your “i’s” and crossed your “t’s” in preparation for the end of this year and the beginning of the new one?
Among the specific items to take into account:
Budget: Have you created your company’s budget for the new year? Take a look back at how closely you were able to adhere to last year’s budget, and let that inform the decisions you make about increasing or decreasing spending in certain areas.
Here’s a tip: If you’re a small operation and you’re not quite ready to lay out your budget for the entire year, you can make it easier on yourself — start by creating a budget for the first quarter of the new year. — taking into account your current cash flow status?
>> Related Reading: Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners
Debts: On a related note, an important part of anticipating your expenses for the coming year is taking note of any outstanding debts that your business will be required to pay off in the new year.
This is especially important if you made any purchases on deferred payment terms. For example, if you made a major purchase for your business last August with six-month deferred payment terms, guess what? You’re going to have to start paying for it in February! Avoid surprises by taking this into account when making plans for the new year.
Forecasts and Predictions: We’re not talking about guessing whether it’s going to snow or not. We talking about sales forecasts! The end of the year is the time to set goals for sales and growth for the upcoming year. Will your sales on Product A be going up? Do you have reason to believe your sales on Product B might go down? How will your expected sales affect your overall cash flow?
Even if it’s just an educated guess, making these predictions will provide you with a road map for the coming year — just don’t be too worried if you have to make a detour.
Tax Planning: You’ll need all the necessary documents from this year to file your business taxes next year, of course. And here’s something else to ask yourself: In the last year, did you take advantage of any tax credits and deductions that are available to you? If you’re not sure, consider consulting with an accountant as you approach the new year to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
After you’ve answered all these in-depth questions about money, take a minute to exhale and relax. And after all that hard work, why not spend a few bucks on something special for yourself. How about some ice cream?
The Science of Compliance
Here’s a subject that’s not the most exciting, but it’s crucial for business owners: compliance. There are several steps that businesses are required to take on a regular basis, and with the end of the year approaching, now’s the time to get all your ducks in a row and make sure you’re doing all that’s required of you.
Here are a few things to consider:
Renew Your Business Licenses and Permits: This will vary greatly depending on what industry you’re in and what state you’re operating in, but before the year ends, double-check to make sure all your licenses and permits are valid for the foreseeable future.
These might include:
professional licenses (for applicable occupations)
health department permits and liquor licenses for restaurants
retailer’s licenses for stores, sales tax licenses, vending licenses
…and more. Don’t wait and find out the hard way what might happen when your licenses expire!
Prepare the Necessary Statements: If you own a small business, you won’t have to worry about compiling a thick, detailed annual report for shareholders like publicly traded companies do. But you’re still required to file quarterly tax estimates with the IRS — and of course, you’ll still need to submit an annual tax return for your business. Before the calendar slips away to next year, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and documents for this process.
Report Any Changes to Your Business: Think back over the events of the past year. Did you change the name of your business? Did you move to a new location? Did you make any changes to your company’s organizational documents? And if you answered “yes” to any of the above: Did you report those changes to the state where you do business?
Start your compliance process now so you don’t yourself scrambling to get all these things done while your colleagues are on their way to their New Year’s Eve parties!
New Year, New Stuff
Have you been longing to buy a new computer or tablet for your business? Or even a new vehicle? Do you keep thinking about replacing that unreliable printer in the office? (You know the one.)
The beginning of the new year is the perfect opportunity for some “out with the old, in with the new!” When assembling your budget for next year, make some room for upgrades to your office equipment, hardware, and software. Consider implementing new technologies that might give you an edge, like new CRM systems, e-commerce platforms, or analytics tools (or subscription-based website support services!).
We’re not suggesting throwing everything out and starting from scratch — but sometimes an affordable upgrade can help your operations run more smoothly as you move into the future!
>> Related Reading: New vs. Refurbished Office Equipment
This can even extend to your workforce. If you’ve been meaning to bring on a new employee to take some of the workload off the shoulders of your existing staff, the end-of-year transition period is an excellent time to review the feasibility of adding someone new.
Make Plans for Your Own Well-Being
This is a common theme of our content, but we’ll say it again: Take care of yourself! As a business owner, you’re working hard and working a lot. But being mindful of your personal wellness is vital to keeping your business running smoothly.
When you’re making plans for your business for the coming year, think about when you’d like to take a vacation. Then put it on the company calendar so your employees know when to anticipate it.
>> Related Reading: How Can Technology Assist You on Your Wellness Journey?
We could go on and on when it comes to the topic, but rather than overwhelm you, we’ll leave things there, and we hope we’ve given you some things to consider as you prepare your business for the new year. By anticipating matters of money, compliance, and upgrades to your business before December 31 gives way to January 1, you’ll be setting yourself up for success when Baby New Year comes along.
Obviously, this is a lot to keep in mind. With all these concerns on your plate, you definitely don’t need one more thing to worry about — and yet, you can’t ignore the needs of your business website. Everything has to be up to date and free of technical glitches to ensure you have a steady online presence.
Good news: We can help with that! Our website support services are cutting-edge no matter what year it is, and with our subscription plans you’ll be free to focus on other important business matters. Get in touch with us to learn more — and may we be the first to wish you a happy new year!