As we charge headlong into the fourth quarter, it's important for business owners to start thinking about wrapping up the year and getting ready for the next one. Typically, that means taking stock of what you've accomplished, setting new goals, and planning ahead for the holiday season. It's also a good time to update your website and social media profiles, assess your inventory and supply chain, review your accounting practices, and prepare for tax season.
Review Your Goal Achievement
For starters, take a good hard look back at the year and see how you did in terms of meeting your goals. This will help you set realistic expectations for the coming year. Did you achieve your sales targets? Did you meet your customer acquisition goals? What worked well and what didn't? Use this information to inform your goal-setting for the next year.
Plan Holiday Marketing
The holidays are a critical time for small businesses. Make sure you have a plan in place for marketing your products or services during this busy time. Evaluate your budget and decide how much you can afford to spend on holiday marketing. Then start brainstorming some creative ideas that will help get your business noticed during this competitive time.
Update Your Web Presence and Social Media Profiles
Especially when the holidays roll around, make sure that your website and social media profiles have been updated with fresh, vibrant content. The fourth quarter is a good time to take a look at your site and see if there are any areas that need to be updated or refreshed. Maybe it's time to add some new photos or create some new blog posts. Whatever it is, make sure your site is looking its best so that potential customers can find you online.
Also, it’s a good idea to target your marketing whenever possible. For example, social media groups dedicated to outdoorsmen might not have the same interests as single moms, so if you’ve already put together a PDF gift guide brimming with promotional materials, simply use this free tool to split it into different PDFs and send them where you think they’ll get the most traction.
Assess Your Supply Chain and Inventory
If you sell physical products, now is a good time to assess your inventory levels and make sure you have enough product on hand to meet customer demand during the holiday season. It's also a good time to review your supply chain and make sure everything is running smoothly. If there are any potential bottlenecks, now is the time to address them so that they don't cause problems later on.
Prepare For Tax Filing Season
No one likes paying taxes; unfortunately, though, it's something that all businesses have to do. The fourth quarter is a good time to start gathering all of the necessary documentation so that everything is ready when tax season rolls around. This includes things like receipts, invoices, bank statements, etc. Getting organized now will save you a lot of headaches later on.
While you’re at it, the end of the year is a good time to review your accounting practices and make sure everything is in order. This includes double-checking that all income and expenses have been properly recorded, reconciling bank statements, and preparing financial statements. This will ensure that everything is ready when it comes time to file taxes or apply for loans or investors.
Reevaluate Business Structures
As your business grows and changes, it's important to reevaluate your business structure from time to time to make sure it still makes sense given your current situation. This may include things like changing from a sole proprietorship to LLC status or adding new partners or shareholders. Doing a periodic check-up of your business structure will help ensure that everything is still running smoothly.
The fourth quarter is an important time for small businesses. There are a lot of things that need to be done in order to wrap up the year successfully and set yourself up for success in the next one. By taking care of things like goal-setting, marketing, website maintenance, inventory management, and accounting, you'll be well on your way to having a successful fourth quarter.
If you’re ready to grow your business with the help of great local resources and partnerships, join the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce.