A new year means fresh resolutions can be made. It can suggest a shift in corporate priorities for some business owners. What was successful? What mistakes did we make? Making a year-end checklist helps you plan for the future as a business or as a family unit.
6 year-end considerations
This article covers year-end checklist items and business optimization for next year and beyond by HostRooster
Review 2015 goals
First, compare your marketing strategy at the start of the year to your current goals and results now. You can assess your first three quarters of the fiscal year. Please ensure to note your KPIs, objectives (to evaluate ROI), and overall efforts. 2022 was yet another roller coaster year for many, so give yourself some grace and space. Pivoting and adjusting to a dynamic business climate is difficult, especially when outside variables are involved including the war, pandemic and so fourth.
Ask yourself these questions about last year’s goals: We’re your aspirations attainable? How can you build on last year’s successes and avoid the failures?
Your goal is to assess your marketing success. Did you improve sales by 10%? How would you double your social media followers? Your prior year’s goals will help you create new goals and drive your strategy. Next, you’ll design your marketing plan’s methods and analyze prior performance.
Align marketing and business goals
Too often, entrepreneurs or business executives prioritize marketing without knowing why. “Every business should have social media, right?” Every marketing activity must complement your business goals. Marketing should move the needle. Ensure alignment by reviewing the preceding year with your goals in mind. If not, alter your marketing approach for the new year to meet corporate goals. Part of this planning process should be defining marketing pillars for the new year, i.e., what do you need to accomplish to reach your goals? Can you eliminate something that didn’t function before?
- Engaging with social media
- SEO keyword research
- Paid, PPC, and social ads with landing pages
- CMI’s Content Marketing B2C Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends study shows what other firms and marketers are doing.
Once you know your marketing goals, update your business website ASAP.
Ask yourself these questions:
How did you do online?
Write down your accomplishments and why. Consider how to establish and expand these procedures.
What went wrong?
Write out where you failed. Then we can make corrections. Last year, what were your online goals Well? If you didn’t set precise goals for the last year, you should do so for the coming year. How can you get somewhere without a plan? Which aims did you achieve?
A trustworthy businessman knows the answers. Being honest helps you succeed.
This fast overview helps you identify the new year’s pillars. Answering the above questions will help you build on your successes and avoid failures.
Your website design? Without us, technology advances. Keep up or you’ll fall behind. Review your website’s graphics, layout, and functioning. When did you refresh your website’s appearance and images? Continual visual trends emerge. Visitors learn how websites should look and function as they surf the web. This creates expectations.
These questions can help:
- Modernize your website. Is it 2022 or 2002?
- Are your articles and photographs (including your profile photo) old?
- Do you have visitor-expected features?
- Is your website user-friendly?
- What year is the copyright notice? Update the year.
- Site navigation can also become autonomous. Choice paradox? Too many options might cause hesitation and lower sales or contacts.
Review your site’s navigation and make it simple, concise, and straightforward.
How’s your mobile site?
Your website must be mobile-friendly.
This should be your only website update this quarter. People search for tax prep, insurance, and legal representation on their phones. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, they’ll go elsewhere. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check your site.
If your site doesn’t function, try these:
- Web developer needed. An specialist can update your website’s coding or construct a responsive one. Its pages “react” to the user’s screen size. Responsive webpages use the same URL and code on any device.
- DIY. If you’re tech-savvy, make your site mobile-friendly by adding a WordPress mobile plugin or switching to a responsive theme.
- If you can’t build a responsive site from scratch, try GoDaddy Websites + Marketing. A mobile-friendly site can be created quickly.
After that, there are a few additional website to-dos:
- Make it search engine-friendly. Future clients will find you on Google. It’s worth the work to make people notice your site.
- Test webpage speed. Performance tests assess resource loading and page speed. They cause anguish for clients in every business. If you don’t look, you won’t know. Test your site’s performance with one of these free tools.
- Check safety. Google’s switch to HTTPS everywhere requires an SSL to keep traffic flowing. You’ll also need malware protection and backup services (if not included).
- Google Analytics. Start utilizing this tool to see what people are doing on your website. This can lead to site changes that boost your revenue in the coming year.
- If you have a WordPress site, check your plugins, themes, and extensions. If they’re not updated for the latest platform, find alternatives. Outdated themes and plugins might compromise website security and speed.
Business finances are rarely exciting. Early bookkeeping might help your financial preparation in the new year.
Before the first (real or synthetic) snowflakes fall, schedule your annual tax, legal, and consulting meetings. Send bank confirmations immediately, especially if your company’s year-end is December 31. This year, your firm may need new tax papers like the 1099-K. File a state-required annual report. File before the end of the year to avoid late penalties. Prepare end-of-year financials. This is a common dislike. Working from top to bottom is preferable. Ask your accountant for a to-do list beforehand. Request any templates and financial statements from previous year. Clarify everything unclear, even time-consuming requests. Either:
They could receive the same facts from another source or
This schedule goes beyond year-end audits (e.g. business analysis).
If utilizing both an auditor and an accountant, inquire if the accountant needs anything the auditor didn’t.
Next, prepare for your financial audit (if applicable).
- If not you, choose an audit point person. This person should reconcile bank accounts, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and equipment lists to general ledger account totals.
- Make a “audit” file. Do this for regulatory agency communication (if any) and copies of fixed asset additions and disposals, debt agreements, leasing arrangements, lawsuits, complex transactions, technological updates, and major customers and vendors.
- Shareholders should see annual earnings (if any).
- Consult your accountant. After the audit, ask for recommendations on improving next year’s process.
- With this information, revisit your business plan. Change your privacy statement, add sales goals, and establish or update common policies (such as unhappy customers).
This simple step helps you focus and align your goals with your company’s situation. Try quarterly.
Finally, make sure your business structure still works. Have you outgrown your sole proprietorship? Changes should be made on January 1st.
This isn’t legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney or tax specialist about your specific situation.
Websites + Marketing and Avalara AvaTax empower entrepreneurs.
Setting a budget may seem trite; you want to do huge things. Make 2018 the year you write down your goals if you’re not already.
Setting objectives is more than saying, “I want a million bucks”
As a business owner, you’ll have financial goals. Your financial goals may depend on how long you’ve been in business, how successful you’ve been, and what you want to achieve next year.
Look at well-established strategies of team productivity and goal-setting that other organizations use to succeed. Intel’s OKRs and SMART frameworks are examples.
With OKRs, you might identify financial targets and important results for each department, such as:
Every contributing team should have goals for the coming year.
Also consider tools and bookkeeping methods to aid.
It’s not enough to declare goals; you must also install the necessary infrastructure.
If you have project or cost money left over, utilize it now. Take advantage of tax-deductible company expenses.
Here are some good investment options:
Updating office furniture and equipment.
Subscriptions to work-easing software.
Hiring more workers to reduce stress.
Investing in areas that can help your business expand is crucial to its success.
End of the year is a good time to review your employment numbers for your budget. If you’re overworked, consider recruiting in the new year.
Consider your work environment. Remote employment, whether it’s allowing full-time employees to work from home, contracting remote freelancers, or using the gig economy to reach new clients (through delivery services), will be a defining feature of this generation.
Some firms, including brick-and-mortar stores, can’t use remote employment. But they’re in the minority. 73% of departments will have remote workers by 2028, says Upwork.
Why should your business hire remote workers?
Could you seek for the right applicant in another (cheaper) market?
Could you save money by hiring coworking space in many cities and scaling as needed?
Can the correct temporary hire replace the bad long-term hire?
Start studying how investing in distant communication tools, collaborative platforms, and cloud storage could pay off.
At the conclusion of each year (and the beginning of a new one), update your team on where you are and where you’re headed.
An all-hands meeting that covers OKRs and/or SMART targets, finances, and ROI on important projects from the previous year will keep your team informed and help them feel more committed to the business’s performance.
Informing your staff of what you want to accomplish next year — new OKRs, definitely, but also remote work opportunities, process migrations, and expansion plans — has enormous benefits.
It will assist ease the transition in case of substantial changes and allow you to field inquiries and receive useful feedback.
This is crucial.
Discuss roles and responsibilities with your workers.
If you don’t do quarterly or biannual reviews, start the year with one.
Nobody’s an island. Keep your staff updated on how you’re doing and what’s ahead to increase buy-in and enthusiasm.
Evaluate your marketing
When choosing marketing activities for the future year, focus on ROI.
Novice marketers often try everything and see what stays with fresh ads. Why not social media, email, blogging, and social advertising? We’re “developing our brand,” right?
Marketing requires balance.
Many consider word-of-mouth the most effective marketing method, but it’s tough to measure with assurance. Some marketing channels should demonstrate a meaningful ROI before moving forward.
When business owners face uncertainties like trade tensions or a recession, it’s crucial to focus on marketing activities that will boost your bottom line.
Email marketing is a great digital marketing medium since you can:
Reclaim shopping carts
Retain current consumers
Understand who you’re attempting to reach and why for your business. Before spending money on marketing to them, do this.
New Year’s goals
At the beginning of the year, there are a million things you want to do to your business.
If you increase a few key stats, a little may go a long way.
This year-end checklist may reveal areas that demand more time and work than you imagined. You may decide to skip or change some measures next year if they weren’t as effective.
If you cover the basics and do your due diligence, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
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