For small business owners, January can be the perfect time to assess and plan for the year ahead. It?s the start of a new year, and with it the usual onslaught of New Year?s Resolutions; lose weight, save money, start a business, improve this-and-that, etc. Let’s take that New Year’s energy and get creative with some Business Resolutions to help us THRIVE in 2021!
Business Resolution #1: GET ORGANIZED
? Start a filing system. Even if it?s only a box or a dedicated desk drawer, having a single drop spot for all financial paperwork makes bill paying and tax time easier.
? Create folders in your email program to keep track of digital receipts- one for expenses, and one for income. Do this at the start of each new year to keep things organized and easy-to-find come tax time.
? Schedule one day a month for “Finance Get-It-Done Day”- enter receipts (or prep for your bookkeeper), follow-up on invoices, pay bills. Keep it consistent- I use the first Friday of every month for my own business. Not sure what you need to get started? Grab your free “Monthly Accounting Must-Do Checklist” HERE.
Business Resolution #2: GET CAUGHT UP
? THIS IS THE SIGN YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR: It’s time to file your overdue taxes!
It?s incredibly important to stay current with your tax filings so that:
- A- you keep a good relationship with the government,
- B- you avoid ongoing penalties and fees, and
- C- you have a CLEAR financial picture so you can make the BEST decisions for your biz.
If you’re filing your taxes as a self-employed business owner, I highly recommend?TurboTax! It?s easy to use, has the EXACT forms you need as an entrepreneur, and has good guidance & advice on how to optimize your tax situation. Check it out?HERE.
This is one of the most common Business Resolutions among my clients, so it’s time now to make it a priority!
Business Resolution #3: GET REAL
Yes, I know the word ?budget? makes many people roll their eyes, but, at a BARE minimum, you need to have an overview of the year ahead. Here’s a super simple challenge: take a one-page annual calendar, and plot out major revenues and expenses. Things like:
- Tax Payments
- Staff Hires/Training for Busy Season
- Seasonal spikes in revenue (summer? Christmas?)
- Equipment maintenance & replacement
- Insurance Payments
- Business Licensing
Here?s a sample blank calendar that I use in my own business. This type of long-range planning can be an asset when you?re making the day-to-day financial decisions happening in your business.
Business Resolution #4: GET AHEAD
? Find a bookkeeper/accountant- Yes, NOW. The New Year’s Eve Champagne is barely warm, but before we know it tax season is upon us! Start asking colleagues and friends for recommendations on working with a finance pro to make tax-time easier. Resources like IPBC (Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada) can be a good starting point if you?re new to your business, or ask in business-related Facebook Groups.
? Open a savings account; many banks will offer this for free if you already have a business chequing. Get into the habit of using it for money that doesn?t belong directly to your business, i.e. HST/GST collected on sales, commissions owed to staff, etc. This helps prevent the ?see it, spend it? syndrome.
Business Resolution #5: GET RICH
Okay, that headline *may* be a bit dramatic, but building wealth is super important!
Who doesn?t want their business to be profitable, and then some?! When it comes to making money, there are two key foundations:
- Increase revenue
- Reduce expenses
Honestly, it?s that simple! Now, how do you tackle one (or both) of these? Time to start brainstorming!
Pick one of the categories from above and just start writing; set a timer and see how many options you can come up with in 3 minutes!
Then, pick one thing from each category that you will commit to for this year and take ACTION on now. Some ideas:
- Revenue– are you able to offer additional products/services? Value add-ons? Reach a new target market of customers? Would your customers tolerate moderate price increases? Are you holding old inventory that can be sold at discount/wholesale?
- Expenses– Take a look at where you spent dollars this past year; are there areas you can trim? Sign up for a merchant account to get your office supplies at a discount? Negotiate lower interest rates for a set period on existing debts like credit cards or line of credit? Get a better insurance package?
As the year progresses, make sure to check in on the commitments you?ve made to your business. Give yourself 2 minutes every day to remind yourself of why these changes you?re implementing are important. I like designing a fun “New Year’s Business Resolutions” poster on Canva and printing it for my desk.
Remember: even the smallest tasks done consistently can bring you closer to being a profitable and sustainable business!
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