Now that the fourth quarter is upon us, small businesses are starting to wrap up for the year and prepare for the next one. That means evaluating your goal achievement, outlining new goals, planning your holiday marketing, updating your website and social media profiles, stocking up on inventory, reviewing your accounting, organizing your tax paperwork, and changing your business structure if necessary. Let's dive in!
The first step in fourth quarter small business planning is to take a look back at the year and evaluate how well you did in achieving your goals. This will help you determine what areas need improvement and where you can continue to build on your success. If you didn't hit all of your targets, don't worry! Use this as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and do better next year.
Now it's time to start thinking about next year. What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? Outline them now so that you can start working towards them immediately. Remember to be realistic and achievable. After all, it's no use setting yourself up for failure. But at the same time, don't be afraid to dream big!
The holidays are a key time for small businesses. Many people do their shopping during this period, so it's important to have a solid marketing plan in place. Figure out what promotions you're going to run, what products or services you're going to promote, and where you're going to advertise. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of driving sales during this crucial time.
For instance, if you’ve already created a PDF gift guide full of helpful sales info and product images, the next step is to split it into multiple PDFs that you can send to different social media groups for a little extra targeted marketing. This will do wonders for helping to get the word out!
No matter what time of year it is, it's always a good idea to keep your website and social media profiles up-to-date. Make sure your contact information is current, your products or services are accurately represented, and that any special promotions or deals are prominently featured. Fresh content is key in keeping people interested in what you have to offer.
If you sell physical products, then make sure you have enough inventory on hand to meet holiday demand. Nothing would be worse than running out of stock just when people are looking to buy! Place orders with your suppliers well in advance so that you have plenty of time to receive and process them before the rush begins.
The end of the year is also a good time to review your accounting practices. Make sure you're keeping accurate records of income and expenses, that all invoices have been paid (or collected), and that you're up-to-date on filing taxes. This will save you a lot of headaches come tax season.
Speaking of taxes, now is the time to start collecting all the necessary documentation so that you can file your taxes as early as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner you'll get any refunds or rebates due to you—and who doesn't want that? Get organized now so that tax season doesn't sneak up on you later.
As your business grows, it might make sense to change its legal structure—for example, from a sole proprietorship to an LLC or corporation. This can have several benefits, such as providing personal liability protection or allowing you to take advantage of certain tax breaks. Consult with an accountant or attorney before making any changes so that you understand all the implications involved.
As we head into the fourth quarter, small businesses need to start preparing for the end of the year—and the beginning of a new one. By taking care of these items now, small businesses can set themselves up for a successful new year!