In the rush of the holiday season, it can be easy for business owners to neglect things that need their attention. Sometimes you're just busy with the holiday rush; other times, you might be distracted by the events of the season, family, employees taking time off, or the countless other things that take place this time of year.
It's easy to understand why you might let things go as a business owner or manager due to the rush of the season, but that does not make it OK. This is a time of year when there are a few things you need to do, even if you don't really have a lot of time.
1. Get your finances in order
At least a few weeks before the end of the year, meet with your accountant. It's important to know where you stand so you can decide if you need to make any year-end financial moves. If you're making a profit and have cash in hand, for example, you might prepay some of your expenses for next year. It's also possible to delay invoicing some clients so you receive the cash in 2019 and don't have to include it on your 2018 books.
2. Talk to your employees
If you're a small company, have a year-end meeting with each employee. In cases where you're too big for that, take time to communicate with the company as a whole.
Let people know how the year went. How specific you get is up to you, but it's important to share this information. Say thank you, and if you made a profit share some of it with your employees. That can be a small amount, even a gift card, for lesser employees and larger cash bonuses for the workers who were big contributors to your success.
If you lost money or just broke even, share that information as well. Talk about how things may change in the new year, and what your goals are to get things going in the right direction.
3. Make a plan for 2019
Once the holidays end it will be 2019. There's no break for most companies between New Year's Day and the new business year starting, and that means you need to spend some time considering your plans for the next year. You may not need to make a major revision to your business plan, but it's important to consider what changes you might make and to set goals for the upcoming year.
It's also important to consider your employees when you make your plans for the new year. Do you have people who are ready for promotions or who are eager to learn new areas of the business? Factor that in as you consider what you might do in the new year.
It's a start, not the end
You don't have to wrap up your full plan for 2019 before the year begins, but the financial parts of this are important. There are some tax moves you simply have to make before the calendar changes. The rest of this, however, is just a start.
It's important to start the year strongly. You want to take what you did at year end and build on it. If you have made a plan, examine what it takes to actually execute. You'll also want to look at your resources and adjust accordingly.
Make your year-end moves, and let that lead you into the new year. Don't let your company succeed in the fourth quarter and then stumble into the first.