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Preparing Your Small Business for the New Year

New Year resolution .

New Year's brings new opportunities and new beginnings, especially for small business owners. It's also a good time to give yourself a pat on the back: You've successfully led your business through another year! As the current year draws to a close, what steps are you taking to prepare your small business for the next one?

From marketing to operations, it's time for resolutions that'll help make the most out of a new year and all the fresh starts it brings.

Resolution #1: Update Your Social Media Presence

Go through your existing social media profiles to update photos, freshen profiles and ensure all links are working. You may also want to update your bio to include successes, accomplishments and other relevant information from the past year. While you're updating, use a critical eye to ensure that your profile content presents your brand in the best light and that your sites offer helpful, easy-to-use information to your customers. Not utilizing social media yet? Now's the time to start!

Resolution #2: Engage in Strategic Planning

Get your team together to think strategically about the upcoming year. Start with a thorough review of this year; what worked? What didn't? What lessons were learned? What would you have done differently? Use the results of your analysis to map out plans and timelines for marketing, events, social media, product or project launches. These calendars will get you on track to have an organized year. If you're not sure how to implement strategic planning for your business, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers a free online course to get you started.

Resolution #3: Get Ready for Tax Time

New Year's Day means tax day is just around the corner. Minimize your stress by preparing well ahead of time and getting your tax documents in order. Paperwork for your employees and contractors must be postmarked by January 31, so get on the phone with your accountant or bookkeeper now. You'll thank yourself when April rolls around!

Resolution #4: Review Your Disaster Preparedness Plan

While no one likes to dwell on the negative, creating and maintaining a disaster preparedness plan for your business is essential. Understanding how a disaster could impact your business will help you take steps to mitigate risk where possible and create a business continuity plan. A business disaster plan that takes a range of potential situations into account will help you get back on your feet in case the unthinkable happens while providing you with peace of mind.

Resolution #5: New Year's Cleaning

We've all heard of spring cleaning, but why not start the process now and greet the New Year with a fresh start? Take the time to finally clear off your desk, go through that old file cabinet, archive your email inbox and stop putting off housekeeping tasks that, when left undone, can contribute to roadblocks. From automating your social media calendar to finding the courage to let go of things that aren't working getting rid of the clutter will help you be more productive in the New Year. Plus, eliminating, delegating and automating wherever possible will free up your time to focus on your business strategy and goals.


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