What do surgeons, architects, hedge fund managers and pilots all have in common?
Didn’t expect that, did you?
According to Entrepreneur.com, they all use this one simple tool that literally saves lives and keeps buildings from collapsing.
There you have it. A simple checklist.
So something that can save lives can surely help keep your business alive and kicking, right?
Why You Need an End of Year Checklist?
Even Santa has a checklist, telling him who’s been naughty or nice, so why shouldn’t you?
If the fact that Santa and surgeons use them is not a strong enough reason for you to have a business end of year checklist, then how about these 5 killer reasons:
1. Out with the old, in with the new
You can’t get off to a fresh start in 2019 without clearing out the cobwebs from 2018. Get rid of 2018’s baggage right now so that you can look forward (and not in the rearview mirror) as you embark on your new year of new opportunities
2. Be proactive
You can start setting things in motion for 2019 right now. Don’t waste a minute of the new year frantically rushing to plan, when you could be acting on the plans you’ve set up right now.
3. Simplify complex tasks
There’s something about having an itemized list to check off that simplifies tasks and makes you more likely to complete them.
An ordered list leads to an ordered mind, which increases your productivity.
4. Helps you prioritize
During this time of new year’s resolutions, you probably have a million things you want to do in your business next year.
Take a step back.
A small business checklist can help you prioritize your goals for the new year, increasing the odds that the most important ones will actually happen.
5. Don’t forget a thing
If you have a physical checklist then you’re less likely to forget something important. No further explanation required.
10 Items for Your End of Year Business Checklist:
Now that we’ve dealt with the why, let’s move onto the what. What exactly do you need to check off for your business before the clock strikes midnight on December 31?
Fear not, your carriage won’t turn into a pumpkin should you not meet the midnight business end of year deadline, but getting these items done in time would be a positive way to ring in 2019.
1. Meet with your bookkeeper or accountant
If you haven’t done it already, try to squeeze in a meeting with your accountant or bookkeeper between new year celebrations and lunch dates. It’s probably the last thing you (or your accountant) feel like doing right now, but there’s a lot of benefits to doing this. You can set your 2019 budget, analyze your 2018 financial statements and establish tax deadlines.
We know this might be a toughie this time of year, so if you absolutely cannot meet right now, try set some time aside yourself to work on your budget and review your statements so that you’re prepared for when you do meet in January.
2. Examine old goals and set new ones
Forget New Year’s resolutions that, let’s be honest, no one really keeps.
Rather set yourself concrete business goals for 2019. Don’t be too general, it’s better to break them down into specific goals for specific elements of your business. This is the difference between goals and resolutions.
For example, set yourself specific monthly sales goals, weekly social media goals, daily customer service goals. Before you set new goals, revise your old goals from 2018, assess what you achieved and what you want to improve on.
And, of course, make sure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
3. Assess cash flow
Cash flow issues are responsible for 82% of small business failures. If you analyze your 2018 cash flow statements now, you can flag any issues before they start affecting your business health.
It’s a good time to decide whether you need any extra funding for the next quarter. If you need a cash infusion immediately, business loans are a good solution. You could apply now through Lending Express and could even have your funds in your bank account before the new year, ready to finance your 2019 goals.
If you need help deciding whether you need business financing, read this Guide to Business Financing.
4. Provide feedback to employees
This is something that should ideally be done at the beginning of December, before employees go on leave for the holidays, but if you haven’t had one-on-one meetings with your employees yet, then now’s the time (with whoever’s still around). A good feedback session will cover their performance in 2018, their goals for 2019 and any promotions or bonuses due to them. It should be a two-way discussion with feedback from you and your employee.
5. Create a new marketing plan
A new year requires a new marketing plan. Technology is changing all the time, so you need to keep on top of the latest marketing trends in order to keep up with your competition and make sure you’re heard above all the noise.
The new year is a good time to research your target market, your competitors and the latest marketing trends. Then you can work on optimizing your marketing channels and messaging.
6. Do an inventory check
Analyzing your inventory will help you see what stock you need to replenish for the new year. But more than that, by analyzing your stock levels you can determine which products were the most in demand and which the least, helping you reassess your product strategy for the new year. The same goes for services – you can assess which of your services were the most popular.
7. Get your tax ducks in a row
Tax time might still be a few months away, but you can start preparing by making sure you have all required documentation from 2018 in order. The tax deadline varies depending on your business type but regardless of the exact date, now is the time to start preparing.
Small Business Tax Checklist
These are the main documents you will need for your 2019 business tax return:
- 2018’s business tax return
- Documentation from payroll
- Business bank statements
- Business credit card statements
- Documents from your accountant
- Partner contracts
- Schedules of Depreciation
Depending on your business legal structure, you may require further documentation, about which your accountant can advise you.
End 2018 with a bang by staying on top of your end of year business planning.
He’s making a list,
And checking it twice…
Christmas is over. Now it’s your turn to make your small business checklist.