Hard as it may be to believe, the year is almost over! As the calendar turns to its final month, many of us start organizing holiday get togethers, planning a trip to see loved ones, or just looking forward to some well deserved time off. Mentally, some of us are already on vacation, but wait — December isn’t over yet! There’s still work to be done, and for small businesses, there are a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up before the books close on 2016.
We’ve put together a year-end to-do list for you so you can lock the office door, head off for some winter holiday time, and really relax. Here are nine tasks you’ll want to tackle before 2016 ends.
- Thank your current clients. Holiday cards expressing gratitude can go a long way in letting your clients know that you appreciate their business. If gifts are in the budget, consider sending a box of gourmet treats to clients with more than one or two employees, or something practical like USB drives with your company name printed on them. For clients who fly solo, a bottle of wine or an influential book that you love make great gifts.
- Entice potential clients. Again, holiday cards expressing your desire to work together are a nice touch this time of year. To up the ante — and the giving spirit — you might offer discounts to new clients who get in touch in the first month of 2017.
- Take stock of your 2016 projects. The end of the year is a good time to honestly assess the status of your projects for clients and your internal projects too. Which are finished? Which need your attention before the holidays? Which should be prioritized for 2017? A good project inventory at the end of a year helps you start the new year off on the right foot and with the right focus.
- Examine the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Just as you’ll want to take stock of projects, you’ll want to assess how you promoted your business in 2016. Specifically, which strategies helped boost sales or bring in new business, which strategies fell flat, and which strategies need to be tweaked to work better.
- Set goals for the new year. Just like you make personal New Year’s resolutions at the end of the December, it’s wise to make some business resolutions as well. What do you hope to accomplish with your business? What changes in practices do you want to make? Write these down now, then hold yourself to them throughout the year.
- Handle your financials. Even though 2016 taxes aren’t due for a few months, December is a good time to meet with your bookkeeper and/or accountant to tidy up your books. Not only will this help you get a better idea of how well you did in 2016, but it will make tax time a lot less hectic.
- Schedule your social media updates before you leave for vacation. Just because you’re taking time off doesn’t mean your digital presence can afford a vacation. Using a social media marketing tool like HootSuite, Buffer, and several others, you can schedule things like tweets, Facebook updates, and even blog posts so that your profiles are updated during the holiday break. Yes, this means taking some extra time in December to write these posts and updates, but thankfully, the end of the year offers many opportunities for great topics, such as your recap of the previous year, what you learned in the past 12 months, what you’re looking forward to in the new year, and so on.
- Take time to celebrate and learn. Time marches forward, but it’s important for us to look back and reflect from time to time. Celebrate your 2016 successes and examine why they went well. Similarly, look at your less successful efforts and try to understand where you went wrong do you don’t repeat your mistakes. Every endeavor doesn’t have to be a success, but those that aren’t successful should become a learning opportunity.
- Get help if you need it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your end-of-the-year to-do list, schedule a call or a meeting with one of the experts in your network. At Modern World Consulting, we’re here for our clients all year round! If you’re in need of professional business and marketing services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us this month. We’ll do everything we can to make your 2016 wrap up well.