As a Business Consultant with the UGA Small Business Development Center, I spend a lot of time with business owners looking ahead and planning how to implement improvements. So, with two months left in 2017, here are some thoughts for year-end planning and positioning yourself for 2018.
Get with (or at least have a telephone conversation) your CPA this month. Do not wait until January. You may need to pay some bills, make retirement contributions, etc. to record them for 2017. Some of these may not be available to you after January 1. Also, make sure you are in position to pay estimated taxes on 1/15/2018 if you will have a liability.
Keep in mind payments from customers. You may want to accelerate income into 2017, so consider offering an early payment discount.
The key here is to have minimum inventory on 12/31/2017. You will probably pay property or ad valorem taxes on inventory value. Also, you do not want to have old inventory on hand going into the new year.
If you are in retail, fine-tune your inventory receipts plan for the holidays. You should have already placed the bulk of your orders by now.
I suggest you stop all purchasing/receiving between Thanksgiving and January 1. Only receive what you are confident you will sell before the holidays. Special orders that have already been paid for are OK. Restaurants obviously have to keep buying their product because it is perishable.
If you are in retailing, and you are scrambling at this point for your holiday business, it’s really too late. You messed up. You should have been planning for the holidays in the summer. Try to learn from your current problems. It would be a good idea to make notes of what is happening as you go along – sort of a diary. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day. After the New Year, sit down and do an evaluation of what went wrong (and right) while it is still fresh in your mind, and figure out what you need to do differently next year. Call me and we can put together a game plan for next year.
If you go to a holiday party, and you meet someone new, don’t try to talk business in any kind of depth. People hate that. Have fun. Follow up after January 1. Just like with any networking situation, if you make one good contact, it was a success.
Planning marketing for next year
I suggest that business owners have next year’s marketing plan (and financial budget) completed by Thanksgiving. If not, how do you know what you are going to be doing in January and February? Keep in mind these upcoming events:
- College football playoffs
- MLK Day
- Super Bowl
- Valentine’s Day
- President’s Day
When will you place ads? Social media/website posts? Do you need extra inventory for these?
Depending on where you stand with your plan, you may want to get January and February organized first and then figure out March to December.
(Source: Matt Pearce, Business Consultant, UGA SBDC)