It’s the time of the year for lists. One of our favorite lists itemizes the things you should do to get your business ready for the New Year. (Honestly, it comes right after “Top 10 Christmas Cookies”.)
Seriously, though, before you take that well-deserved holiday break, there are some key steps you can and should take to insure your business is ready to rock 2017. We’ve compiled our favorites from leading business blogs, and we’re sharing them with you.
Our first items come from Entrepreneur.com’s article on “25 Things to Begin Now so Your Business Thrives in 2017” by John Rampton. These include:
3. Focus on profitability.
One of the most common mistakes that business owners make is that when they put money back into their company, it’s only to grow. Instead, companies should be focusing on how to become more profitable. Either revisit or create a financial model by paying close attention to your expenses, assessing your marketing plan, building your projections from the bottom-up, checking results from the top down, and finding your breaking point. It may not be perfect, but those steps can guide you in boosting profits.
5. Evaluate your business processes.
Take a couple of moments to evaluate your business processes. This will let you see which areas are effective and running smoothly and which ones aren’t. For example, if you’re still using a paper-based invoicing system, you should make the switch to a cloud-based system so that you can send invoices electronically and receive payments immediately.
7. Keep up on new tax rules and regulations.
There may not be major changes every year, but it’s important to pay attention to any new federal, state, and local tax rules and regulations. It could be anything from filing dates, increasing or decreasing tax rates, what can or can’t be deducted, and how much you can contribute into your 401(k) or Roth IRA. Check IRS.gov, which does a decent job of keeping people notified of any changes.
13. Evaluate your product lines.
End-of-year is the perfect time to review all your product and service lines. Doing so gives you the opportunity to get rid of any of those under-performing products or services and adapt your business to fit the needs of an ever-changing market.
16. Challenge the status quo.
Don’t be complacent! That’s one of likeliest ways to kill your business. Start thinking of how you can boost gross margins, how to leverage your most profitable products or services, and how to target high-profile customers.
19. Start monitoring your monthly expenses.
If you haven’t done so yet, start tracking your monthly expenses. This lets you know how much you’re spending on your expenses and where to start trimming the fat if you’re overspending. Also, if you spot any unauthorized purchases you can check to see if any of your accounts have been jeopardized by cyber-attacks. This not only gives your total control of your money, it’s one of the most important steps when creating a budget.
20. Create a budget and stick it.
Speaking of budgets, it’s time to sit-down and create one for your business. It may not be exciting, but after you create a realistic budget you can get your finances in order by getting rid of any frivolous spending.
21. Cut costs, even if revenue is solid.
Cutting expenses is tough, especially if revenue is good and you aren’t having any cash flow struggles. But, why wait to start making those cuts? If there are expenses that you feel are unnecessary or just make you cringe, then get rid of them instead of wasting your money.
All of these are excellent steps to take, not just at the start of the New Year, but any time. Monitoring your expenses is especially important if your business is in the start up phase, but it never loses its importance. And in addition to alerting you to cyber-attacks, monitoring can also alert you to embezzlement.
Keeping your eye on profitability and innovation are even more important, particularly in times when disruption is the name of the game and someone is always ready to take your customers.
You can read John Rampton’s full article at 25 Things to Begin Now so Your Business Thrives in 2017.
What are your tips for businesses? Write them in the comments section below.
Watch for part II of this blog post next week, when we’ll cover additional tips to prepare for the New Year.