What to do with downtime (if holidays are slow for you).
A slow period is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the previous year, take stock of your business and prepare for next year. Make the most of business downtime with the following steps:
Complete a financial tune-up.Your business probably runs well, but could it run even better? Review the different areas of your business, from how you pay vendors to how you get paid, and consider opportunities for improvement.
Think about the following:
- Does cash flow feel tight? Maybe you could automate your cash flow to get paid faster.
- Do you have a payment strategy? Defining one can help you seize opportunities like early payment discounts and eliminate manual accounts payable processes.
- Confirm you’re using the right accounting method for your business.
- Take advantage of rewards for managing your business.
Refresh your marketing.
During a busy year, you may have made changes to your business – but not your marketing. Look at your website, social media accounts and printed materials. Ensure they accurately reflect your operating hours, contact information, team members (if you list them) and location. Be sure to check search websites like Yelp and Google to confirm your information is listed correctly there too.
Prepare for taxes.
Doing this now will save you the headache of scrambling to get your records together when your business is busier. Pull together last year’s business tax return, your articles of incorporation, bank statements, payroll reports and other tax-related documents. H&R Block has a useful tax preparation checklist with a full list of the information you’ll need. Consider making an appointment with an accountant before you file.
Upgrade your tools.
From saving time to generating more revenue, technology can be leveraged in many ways to improve your business.
The following options could be worth exploring for your business:
- Online and mobile banking solutions give you better insight into your finances.
- Payment automation optimizes your relationship with suppliers – and your cash flow.
- Remote and mobile deposit enables you to skip those regular trips to the bank to deposit checks.
- Same Day ACH can help streamline payroll, prevent late fees and aid in payment emergencies.
Evaluate your year and plan for the next one.
How do you feel your year went? Were you able to meet your goals, or did obstacles get in the way? What issues did you encounter that need to be addressed? Assess the various areas of your business for strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve. Based on what you learn, set some tangible goals for your business for next year. Make sure they’re strategic, measurable and realistic.
You and your team have worked hard all year, so it’s also a good time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished. You might check in with yourself to make sure you’re practicing good work-life balance as well.
By pausing and reflecting on the year behind you and the one to come, you’ll be ready to seize more opportunity for your business. A small business specialist can help you define your strategy, make plans and explore the right solutions for your business. Contact us today to learn more.
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