By Lauren Thomas
November and December are some of the busiest months for small business owners. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, it can be easy to get caught up in managing the day-to-day sales and operations.
But taking the time to thoughtfully wrap up the year can have a major positive impact on next year. Here are some things business owners should focus on as 2018 comes to an end.
Accounting: This is probably the most important part of the year-end checklist. Managing financial records can be frustrating, but by getting them in order now, you will thank yourself when tax season comes around.
According to QuickBooks, small businesses should run a standard financial report at the end of every year. This will help determine where they stand compared to years prior. A standard financial report contains a cash flow statement, balance sheet and a profit-and-loss statement. This will enable businesses to see where they are financially, as the year draws to a close.
Reviewing these reports can help identify areas for business improvement and end-of-year tax-deductible opportunities, and put the data your accountant or bookkeeper needs right at your fingertips.
Goals: Take some time at the end of the year to reflect on your business goals. Think about any goals that were set for the year as well as the big-picture, long-term goals for the business. Gather as much business data as possible, from year-end financial reports, employee reviews, customer feedback, sales data and other sources. Then use this data to assess progress in multiple aspects of the business.
After reflecting on this year, set some goals for 2019. Visualize where you want the business to go and identify challenging, but realistic things to accomplish in the next year. Create specific, measurable goals and attach a deadline to each one. Review your goals at the end of each quarter to assess progress and make adjustments as needed.
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Lauren Thomas is a marketing intern at the Nevada Small Business Development Center. She is a fourth-year marketing student in the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business and is wrapping up the year by nailing her final exams and setting 2019 goals that include graduating in the top of her class and getting a full-time position.