As the year draws to a close, business owners must begin making plans for the coming year. If you’re like most small businesses, you do not have a giant team of people to handle the details for you. It is up to you to wear many of the hats that will help you grow your business. One of those hats is the annual planner hat. When doing your annual planning for the coming year, these are a few key considerations.
Preparing for Tax Season
According to the Small Business Administration, 40 percent of small business owners cite bookkeeping and taxes as the “worst part of owning a small business.” It’s one of the things you absolutely cannot afford to get wrong. Part of the problem is the preparation; you must gather a lot of forms and documents when filing taxes, including things like:
- Accounting Documents
- Bank Statements
- Credit Card Statements
- Depreciation Schedules
- Expenses Documentation
- Partnership Agreements
- Payroll Documents
- Previous Year’s Business Returns
- Purchasing Information
- Sales Records
The list goes on and on – and on. And that’s just to fill out the forms the IRS requires. There is an easier way, though. Businesses that have invested in the Clover Station POS system will find the document gathering process infinitely easier than when operating without this system in place. Whether you’re operating a flower shop or you’re a boutique advertising agency, you can use QuickBooks to help keep your income, invoice, expenses, and taxes in order. Working with Clover Station and QuickBooks is a terrific way to multiply the efficiency Clover Station POS brings to your business.
When planning your budget for the coming year, you need to understand your income and expenses from previous years as well. When creating your budget, Business News Daily suggests that you overestimate expenses and make sure you’re acutely aware of your sales cycles throughout the year. You must be prepared for the slow cycles that occur during your year or you could be caught unprepared. Slow times are ideal, though, for kicking your marketing efforts up a notch or two. They are also important times for seeking to minimize your business expenses.
While it is outstanding to set your budget during your annual planning, you should also seek out opportunities to revisit your budget frequently throughout the year to make sure it is still working for you. Small business needs evolve as your business grows and that means you may have new issues to consider when it comes to your budget.
One of the things you should never overlook during annual planning for small businesses is advertising. Most small businesses cannot afford to rely on word of mouth to grow your business. While it certainly helps, you must also find a way to make sure the buying public knows about your business, its location, and the products you sell or the services you offer. Advertising can be one of the most cost-effective ways to accomplish this. But, you must plan your advertising wisely to maximize your return on investment.
During your annual planning meetings and strategizing sessions is a great time to plan advertising budgets, set goals, and work on campaigns. It’s also the perfect time to explore what has enjoyed the greatest and least success in years past (and why these campaigns and advertisements have succeeded or failed so spectacularly). The key is to prevent the repeat of old mistakes while avoiding potential new mistakes whenever possible. Of course, you must do all this while coming up with ad campaigns that will help your business grow.
However, advertising is a fickle creature. To get the most from it, you must constantly monitor your tactics to see what is providing success at the moment and be willing to adjust as you go – without ever losing sight of who your target market is and what will appeal to that audience best.
Annual planning for a small business might seem like a huge chore. It is one that is necessary if your plan is to succeed and grow during the new year. That doesn’t mean that you only plan for one month of the year and then fly by the seat of your pants for the remainder of the year.
Your first mission should be to set small, achievable goals for the early part of the year. Speaking to graduating students at the University of Texas, Admiral William H. McRaven offered one of the most practical and life-changing pieces of advice by telling students to make their bed every day. He suggested that accomplishing this small goal at the beginning of the day sets the tone for the day. He goes on to say that no matter what else happens during that day, you’ve accomplished something. Start your new year with small goals you can easily accomplish for that first rush of success and then build to bigger goals.
When you invest the time in annual planning for your business, you are already setting the stage for success in the coming year. Be mindful of the past and prepare for the future so that you can enjoy a New Year filled with even greater success than the last for your business.