We see and hear it every year – otherwise completely rational and calm business owners suddenly look at the calendar and realize – it’s nearly year end and there are 1,456 things still on the list that HAD to happen before the clock strikes 2018. Well, don’t panic. Yes, it is almost year end and yes, there are likely things you should get done before we start a new calendar (and for many of us fiscal) year, but there is still time. And, what’s more, some of the things you’ve been putting off might be able to wait until next year (what?! an excuse for procrastination? Fantastic!).
Seriously though, we’ve put together a list of five short things that actually will make your life easier once 2018 starts and – best of all – they won’t take too much time. What are they? Thought you’d never ask! Get all the info here!
Money. Take some time to review the year financially. Identify any trends, such as busy or slow seasons. Prepare any adjustments you’ll want to make moving forward. Collect on debts. Complete your bookkeeping. Prepare and send financial documents to your accountant. For better or for worse, money is an important indicator of the viability of your business. Taking a good hard look at it now will keep you in control as you ring in the New Year.
Writings. Think of all the business you did this year. Do you have a written record of everything? Probably not. Take some time to review any contracts you have in play to see if they will expire or require any action on your part to renew. Make sure you have written and signed copies of all agreements you made even if they were “handshake deals”. Approve all actions taken in the previous year by creating written minutes for a corporate year-end meeting.
Filings. End-of-year is a common time for filing renewals. Does your nonprofit have to file a 990 or register with the state to solicit donations? Is your LLC up for renewal with the Secretary of State? No matter who you are, the IRS will require its annual income tax filing in the coming months. So take stock and make sure these important requirements don’t slip through the cracks.
Deals. If there were any agreements, purchases or sales you wanted to get on the books before year end, now’s the time to do it. Sometimes the looming December 31 deadline is just enough push to get a slow-moving deal done. Remember that your business advisors (lawyers, accountants, brokers, etc.) are often really busy at the end of the year, too, so do what you can to loop them in as soon as possible.
Special Interest for MN LLCs. If you have a Minnesota LLC and have not updated your company documents to comply with the change in LLC law (from Minn. Stat 322B to Minn. Stat 322C) it’s important to check in with your legal advisors to see what, if anything, you need to do, change or draft to make sure your company is still governed the way it was under 322B. This is particularly important for LLCs with more than one owner and VITAL if you have more than one owner and no written agreement among the owners.
Marketing. If you’ve been thinking about changing your look, your website, your billing rates, general approach — anything, really — now’s a good time to give that some thought. The New Year is a natural time to roll out any changes and will ensure that you have clean record-keeping and data-tracking moving forward so you can see how those positive changes increased your business!
Of course the list is long, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Take it one step at a time and do what you can when you can. And, of course, don’t forget to delegate!