What Your Small Business Must Do Before the End of December

The holiday season is finally upon us, and while your small business may be focused on creating more happy customers this holiday season, there is another important consideration to keep in mind: the end of the year.

Yes, the New Year is right around the corner. For your business, that means now is the perfect time to get ready for 2015—and, if you’re not doing these things already, make some key changes to ensure you are raking in the profits for years to come.

In order to do just that, here is what your small business must do before the end of December.

Organize Your Operations
Organization is important for every business, and few times throughout the year are better for it than December. Before 2015 hits, try to run through your operations to make sure everything is in line. That includes:

Addressing your budget—Do you have a budget in place for 2015? If not, do that now. Your budget must include your monthly revenues and expenses, as well as a projection of how much you need to bring in to remain solvent. If the difference between revenues and expenses is too small, you might need to to be in the market for additional financing.
Taking inventory of your supplies—What products do you have in stock? The actual number might be different than what you believe. Double-check your inventory now, so you don’t run into any problems as you start 2015.
Cleaning up files—A lack of organization can hamper your business for a long time. Prevent this from happening by cleaning up your files now. Go through your office, filing cabinets and other areas to get rid of useless documents and sort through the paperwork that is important.

This is a great start to get your business ready for the New Year.

Prepare for Tax Season
December is also a good time to look into your current tax situation. Employers can have deadlines spread throughout the year, but using the end of 2014 as a way to stay on track can prove beneficial. For example, delve into your employee benefits to see if there are any areas that require attention. Changes to the Affordable Care Act will impact small businesses, including new rules that require coverage to be made available depending on the number of employees.

In addition, look for other ways to save money as well. According to Bankrate, there are a number of items that can be deducted on your small business taxes, including:

1. Office Supplies
2. Furniture
3. Computer software
4. Travel and dining
5. Retirement plans

Unfortunately, too many small business owners forget common deductibles like these that can save money. According to Entrepreneur magazine, it’s usually a lack of awareness that leads to this.

“Numerous businesses overpay their taxes every year by overlooking various tax deductions,” said Michael Raanan, president of California-based Landmark Tax Group.

Remember your startup costs as well. The money you invested before your small business became a small business can be deducted in some cases. Even items like continuing education course you attended can be deducted, Raanan pointed out. No matter what, though, consult a tax professional before filing.

Get Energized for 2015
The end of the year may feel like the finish line, but it’s just the beginning. Now is when you want to be as energized as possible for the New Year. Doing this can require different steps for different businesses, but consider throwing a party, taking some holiday vacation time, or doling out bonuses to your staff. These methods will help everyone stay motivated and focused.

Furthermore, the end of the year is the right time to use that energy to set some goals. Think back on 2014. What did you accomplish? What do you wish you had accomplished? Use those answers to set a guideline for a fantastic year.

These benchmarks can range from the large to the small, but the overall idea is to provide you with some direction—and motivation—for the New Year. Don’t be afraid to dream big, either. Overall, your goals should position your small business for success.

December is a time to spend with friends and family during the holidays, but it’s also the prime opportunity to prepare your small business for 2015. Use these ideas to keep your organization moving in the right direction.

To learn more about OnDeck, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or check us out on LinkedIn.