December 2014: A 4-step checklist for Small Businesses

Posted by Paul Anderson

December 2014: A 4-step checklist for Small Businesses

December is a time of the year when new goals, new plans and new resolutions come up on our mind. And this is precisely what makes this month the crucial time for businesses too. Instead of resting on the past laurels, businesses can do analysis and make decisions to ensure that their business prospers over the coming year.

In what follows are four steps that can help small businesses gain a leg-up on the competition. Read, understand & implement these to make the coming year a success for your business.

1. Scrutinize your Finances

Irrespective of the fact that whether you have hired an accountant or not for your business – prioritize this task first. To determine your business financial position, examine your documents (Balance Sheet, Income Statement & Cash Flow Statement)

Tip: Doing this job yourself can be taxing. Many businesses seek professional accountant services for this duration. You too can follow the same route. However, we suggest hiring an experienced accountant permanently for managing your business finances.

2. Assess Current Tax Strategies

Seek out ways for possible tax deductions for your company. Look at the current tax strategies that you have used and asses their usefulness to your business. Investigate different tax strategies that you can probably use in the coming year.

We suggest: consult a tax lawyer to get advice about which tax strategies would be best for your business.

3. Evaluate Business Performance

Pull out the 2014 business plan and review the goals. Focus on sales, marketing and service weekly and monthly metrics together. Examine:

Did your business accomplish the goals for this year?

If no, what acted as a detriment towards it?

Pen your thoughts on these pointers. Use them handy when you do your business planning for the next year.

If possible, compare your business performance against that of your competitors to get a clearer picture of your business performance.

4. Plan for the coming Year

Use the SWOT analysis to measure your business’s existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will give you an unambiguous idea of the risks and rewards that waits for your business in the year to come.

Use this data as groundwork to frame your business goals for 2015. Set goals that are ambitious yet realistic. Assess the goals well to ensure that they are measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Tip: Before finalizing upon the next year goals, hold a company-wide meeting. Jointly discuss the goals with all the key members of your organization. Create an action plan accordingly. Doing this exercise will ensure that all your employees get actively involved in the decision-making process. You will not face the additional challenge of convincing your employees to reach these goals. Proactively, they will start taking the initiatives from the beginning.

For instance, if customer relationship management is one of your top priorities for 2015, most likely you’ll require investing in CRM application development. In such a scenario, getting your executives to commit to CRM around a common set of goals and objectives and a mutually agreed upon timeline will be beneficial. This will ensure a smooth inclusion of the CRM in your work process.

Your employees (who happen to be the end users of the CRM) will openly accept the software and maximize its usage. Hassles of poor CRM user adoption will not surface to trouble you. Quick CRM adoption will ensure that your business receives the benefits of the software fast.