End of the year must do’s

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on past events and to get yourself organized for the year ahead.  I always feel I have accomplished the most when things are organized.

The holidays are stressful for many people with shopping, cleaning and parties, but when you own your own business there are other stressors that are added to the list.  Here are a few of examples of things that get lost in the shuffle and how I like to take the down time between Christmas and New Years to deal with them:

Business Check Up

Take some time to look at any advertising or marketing you did.  Did you spend more time and money then it brought in?  What new strategies would you like to try for the coming year?

Planning Calendar

This is something I am currently doing for a client and something I am going to implement for myself.  Look at each month and decide what topic you will be blogging about or discussing in your newsletter.  If you have time, try to write at least one article per month now and file it away. This will ensure you have something to publish even if you have no time to write. I am working on a template I will share with you shortly!

Client Invoicing

I invoice on a monthly basis so I prefer to print off invoices and note the payment dates on each. Ideally this would happen on a monthly basis, but it inevitably ends up happening at the end of the year.

Receipts

You know those business receipts that are scattered all over your car and desk?  Take an hour to gather and organize them. I like to track my spending in a spreadsheet by month and file the actual receipt in an accordion file by expense type.  This not only helps me track where my money is going, but also saves the accountant time in April (and me some money too).

Files

Whether you still use paper folders or only electronic, set up files for the coming year.  I find it easiest to title mine with starting with the year ie 2011 Communications, 2011 Client A,  etc.

Email

Cleanup your inbox. I am the worst for keeping old emails.  I use this down time to go through emails and delete those I really don’t need and save the attachments of those I do.  While you are at it, take some time to look at all those newsletters you have subscribed to and if in a 2 month period the emails were never opened, unsubscribe from them.

Celebrate Your Successes

Take some time for yourself and feel good about what you have accomplished.  Throughout the year you are running in many directions, use this time to relax and reflect on how far you have come.

What are some of the things you do to get your business ready for the year ahead?

(photo courtesy of Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography)

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