Can you believe it? We’re over one-quarter of the way through the year! Before you know it we’ll be at the halfway point, staring down the barrel of another year end. It’s never a bad time to check in on your business, but Spring-with its promise of warmer weather and new clients and abundance is often the perfect time to review your plans for 2017 to see (i) where you’re on track and (ii) where you may have left the rails.
So where should you start? If you only have 24 hours in a day (after all, plenty of time between midnight and 8AM as one of my bosses used to say), what comes first? Below are some very crucial places to start with your business spring cleaning:
1. Get your organization documents in order – If you don’t have an entity (corporation, limited liability company, etc.), or don’t know what type of entity you have, talk to your tax preparer and legal advisor and figure out what makes sense for you. With taxes recently completed (or wrapping up, or extended) it’s a great time to see if any other type of organization would offer you tax savings. If you do have an entity in place, locate and update your articles, bylaws and agreements among owners to reflect the way you are doing business now (which is likely far different than when you set things up). Record any large decisions that you made last year in written minutes/records of action if you didn’t do this at year end/beginning of the year (or, the best, at the time you made the decision!)
2. Understand your finances – Unless your business has to do with finance, chances are you don’t know enough about the money going in and out of your business. That’s okay, but it’s not okay to just leave it that way. Now is the perfect time to talk to your tax preparer (even if you’ve already completed your taxes, call and ask to go over what exactly the numbers mean, and ask them to help you understand your financial statements). If your current preparer doesn’t want to, find someone who will (we know some GREAT tax folks who can also help with planning, email us for details). Knowing that there is money in the bank right now, or that you’re getting a certain dollar amount of a refund this year is not enough, understanding the ins and outs of your business finances and your tax situation moving forward is key to taking things to the next level.
3. Have a plan for new business – Many businesses rely on advertising, word of mouth or some combination of the two to get new customers. But many don’t have a good way to track how their customers found them. If you have any online presence, be sure to use Google Analytics® or some other tracking software so you can know how people are finding your site. Ask your advertising vendors how they can help you track your return on investment (ROI). Make a plan and stick with it for a bit, and if something isn’t working let it go. Consumer tastes change quickly. If you’re still doing things the same way you did 1 or 5 years ago, chances are you’re missing something.
If you’ve got all of the above under control then maybe it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Do you have everything in order related to your employees? What about your intellectual property? Don’t worry, there’s always something more to do!!