We are approaching year’s end. In addition to landing those key deals and finalizing some year end business , it is also time to get your business in order. You want to prepared and equipped to do business heading to the new year. As a small business owner, you may have a million of daily tasks already here are a few extra that will make life easier in the new year.
In order to start the year on your best possible foot
Here are 12 Things To Do Before 2012:
1. Update Your Bio and Resume. With one year closing and a fresh new one on the rise, taking a moment to look back on all your achievements does several things. One it sets a tone of accomplishment and gears you up for future successes. Two it allows you to leverage those milestones and achievements into expanding your business and assuring credibility in the business community. If you have won any awards or have been written up in the media or even launched any new lines of business. These should be written up in your Bio that you have on file (for speaking engagements, awards, events etc.) as well as highlighted on your profile on Linkedin and other social media profiles.
2. Create 2012 Folders. Create new files in your computer for all of the key files that you use on a regular basis. This is also a great time to start backing up your files if you are not doing so already. Check out my article on preparing for a disaster for tips.
3. Update Your Pricing. If you haven’t raised your prices in over two years due to the recession, it’s time to revisit all of your costs and make sure that your are pricing to make a profit. Depending on your industry some price models to consider apart from hourly and flat fee is that of value pricing. Examine what works for your and your clients as well as your target audience.
4. Update Your Website. In the new year make sure your website or blog has a new look. Even adding a new header graphic can make a big difference. Create new ways to engage your target customers. That maybe small things from more social media interaction, answer questions online etc.
5. Do a ‘What was I thinking?’ audit. Make it a habit once or twice a year to scroll through your checking account or major receipts to see what you’re spending on. If you’re buying things you don’t really need, use the information to stop yourself from making similar purchases in the future. Also make sure that those expenses are within your budget, if you have big expenses that are busting your budget and hurting your bottom line, ditch ’em.
6. Go paperless. Read magazines and newspapers online or at the library. Sign up with 41pounds.org to take yourself off of catalog and junk mail lists that may lead to unnecessary purchases.
7. Consider the tax impact of any 2011 transactions Did you sell any real property this year – or do you plan to before the year ends? Did you start a business? Are you thinking about exercising a stock option? Could any large commissions or bonuses come your way before the end of the year? Did you sell an investment that was held outside of a tax-deferred account? Any of these moves might have a big impact on your taxes. Even a pre-pay on a mortgage for January will impact your taxes.
8. You may wish to make a charitable gift before New Year’s Day.Make a charitable contribution this year and you can claim the deduction on your 2011 return.
*Tip: You can also donate goods, office equipment and furniture you don’t use to have a tax benefit
9. Collect Updated IRS Forms.Make sure you get up-to-date W-9 forms and/or W-4 on all freelance and full-time employees. The IRS requires that W-2 and 1099 forms be mailed by Jan 31, 2011 to all workers paid over $600 this calendar year. On a side note make sure you have a contract for a freelance or contractors on file, make sure your employee classification is also accurate to the worker.
10. Get a New Professional Headshot. If you have changed your appearance in any way, you need a new head shot. Be sure to get it professionally done, that includes makeup where applicable.
11. Develop a 2012 Target Customer List. You should have a list of target clients you want to have. Also really hone in on your target audience define and redefine what are the best customers for the service or product you offer and track your marketing campaign in the new year to make sure you are reaching out to these customers.
12. Determine How You Will Keep In Contact With Your List. The most valuable thing in your business is your potential and existing customer lists. You should plan how and when you will communicate with your target customers. Options include email, video posts, direct mail, phone calls, special offers/ coupons. Remember to check back in with marketing strategy to be consistent in your image and branding.