WITH THE HOLIDAY SEASON nearly upon us, it’s wise to set aside some time to tie up loose ends so you can start the New Year fresh, organized, and ready to roll. As you prioritize “must-do’s” before taking some well-earned time off, consider adding these end-of-year business activities to your list.
Connect with your clients
The holidays are a time of shared goodwill—a natural time to reach out to your customers to check in on how they’re doing, how well your products or services are working for them, and to show your appreciation for their ongoing patronage. Some small businesses send their clients a holiday card or email with a special offer; others make sure each of their customers receives a personal phone call. Whatever you decide, remember it’s not how you do it or how much you spend—it’s the personal touch your clients will remember.
Update your financials
Ideally, your business always keeps up to date with bookkeeping—but if you’re still using an outdated spreadsheet system, now is a great time to consider upgrading to cloud based accounting for the new year. There are many cost-effective solutions out there designed for small business owners that will help you save time and money, allowing you to make better decisions based on accurate, real time figures. In the meantime, organize any receipts that need to be entered into your financial database, make sure your invoicing is up to date, and be sure you haven’t fallen behind with your AR or AP.
Consider a fee increase
Once you know your numbers, you may want to give some thought to raising your rates in the new year. Take an honest look at your expenses, annual profits, as well as your personal and business financial goals. It’s generally recommended that freelancers increase rates on an annual basis as the value you bring to your work increases with experience. But really, every small business should consider doing the same. Costs go up and it’s reasonable for your pricing to reflect your expenses. Increasing rates at the beginning of a new year will make sense to your clients—and they’ll appreciate getting the heads up now so they aren’t surprised when new pricing goes into effect January 1st.
Meet with your accountant
Touching base with your accountant before the year closes is a smart move for your small business. That way, you can go over your goals for the new year, do some business planning, looking at how much capital you may need to meet your goals, and whether a change to your business structure would be worthwhile. Your accountant can also offer helpful tax planning advice; for instance, she can provide an estimate of your tax payments for the current year, and point out tax-saving opportunities—such as a purchase that would benefit your business and save on taxes if made before December 31.
With these end-of-year planning tips in mind, you can take action and enjoy a great start to the year ahead. Best of all, checking all those important “must-do’s” off your list, you’ll be ready to enjoy a relaxed and happy holiday. Cheers!