For some the year’s end means shopping, heading to holiday parties and probably taking a few days off to spend time with loved ones. For entrepreneurs, it tends to be a bit more intense – 35 percent of small business owners plan to work longer hours this holiday season. That is why along with shopping lists and New Year’s Eve plans, you’re probably coming up with ways to boost your productivity so you can complete your business year end to-do list. Here are 13 things that should rank at the top of that list:
Prepare to File
Make sure you have all the right documents in place for filing taxes. Don’t forget – even if you terminated an employee back in February, you still must file his or her W-2. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until last minute to get all of your tax documents together. Research self-employed tax breaks too if they apply.
What better time of the year to give some charitable donations? Make an impact by donating anything from old computers to cell phones. Used goods make a big impact in the lives of the recipients and you can deduct your contributions when you file your taxes.
Update Your Website
The end of the year is an ideal time to update your website. Make sure all of your contact information is accurate and update the images you display. Take a moment to upload any articles that have recently mentioned your business too.
Organize Office Space
Do a pre-spring cleaning and purge your office of stuff you no longer need. A cleaner environment will help you and increase your employees’ productivity. Remember to take a look at the exterior of your building too.
Respond to Emails
If you have some emails you have yet to respond to, it’s time to cross those off your list. Write back and delete any emails you no longer need to tidy up your inbox.
Review Vendor Contracts
Examine your relationship with your vendors. Are you getting the best rates possible based on how frequently you work together? If you’re happy with your vendors, they’ll be happy to hear that from you. If not, move on and find a new vendor.
Build Your 2014 Map
Don’t forget the big picture while you’re working on the smaller tasks at hand. You need a vision for your future. Where are you going in 2014 and what are your goals?
Hold Annual Reviews
It’s the perfect time to discuss performance with your employees and let them know how they can help the company run at its peak performance. Take time to praise them and listen to their concerns one on one.
Hold an Open Forum
Your employees work with your customers day in and day out. That’s why they’re often the best people to help suggest ways to make your customers happier. Hold a year-end forum that encourages your employees to share any ideas they have. This is one of many ways to keep your employees happy and show them that you value their input.
Review Your Insurance Policies
Oftentimes insurance policies are drawn up and then forgotten about until they’re needed. At that time, business owners may realize that they don’t have adequate coverage. Go ahead and review your policies with care – it could potentially save you a lot of money.
Touch Base with Your Best Customers
Let your customers know that you appreciate their business. Take some time to find out if there’s anything else you can do to improve or help improve their experience with your business. Send a letter or survey out – it’s a simple way to show you care about your customers needs and encourage constructive feedback.
Check Out Your Business Cards
You’re probably handing out your business cards to a bevy of people. Review your business cards to make sure all of your information is accurate and up-to-date and that the layout matches that of your website.
Look Over Your Budget
The reason you prepare a budget is to compare it to your performance and see how you’re doing. Check and see what you did right and where you can improve. The power of a budget is in the analysis.
The end of the year is almost here. It’s worth the effort to develop and complete an end of the year checklist. It can save your business money and time – and help you get more organized for 2014.
What tasks are on your list to complete prior to the close of 2013?