• Get Your Elgin, IL Business Ready for a Fresh Start in the New Year!

    Ah, the end of the year – a time to reflect on the past twelve months, celebrate our successes, and set our sights on the future. If you're a small business owner, it's also a time to get your ducks in a row and prepare for a fresh start in the new year. Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here are some end-of-year preparations for small business owners courtesy of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce:

     

    Assess This Year, Plan for Next Year

     

    The fourth quarter is a great time to review your small business's annual goals. This is the time of year when you can take stock of what you've accomplished and make adjustments for the coming year. It's also an excellent time to reassess your goals and see if they're still realistic and attainable. Here are a few tips for reviewing your  annual goals:

     
    • Take a close look at your accomplishments. What went well this year? What could you have done better? Use this information to facilitate a strong finish, as well as help you set goals for next year.

    • Compare your actual results to your desired results. If you didn't reach your goals, why not? Was it because the goal was too ambitious? Or did you encounter unexpected obstacles?

    • Adjust your goals for next year based on what you learned this year. If you didn't reach your goal, make it smaller or simpler. If you did well, challenge yourself to do even better next year.

    • Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. There's no point in setting a goal that's impossible to achieve.

     

    Marketing Finishing Touches

     

    Now is the time to address your holiday marketing plans. If you haven't already started planning, there's still time to get everything in order. Start by setting your budget. How much can you afford to spend on holiday marketing? This will help you determine which tactics are feasible and which are out of reach. Next, choose your channels. Which platforms will you use to reach your target audience? Will you use paid advertising, organic social media, email marketing, or a combination of all three?

     

    This is also the perfect time to give your website and social media profiles a refresh. Update your contact information, bio, headshot, etc., and make sure all of your links are working correctly. This will help ensure that prospective customers can easily find and connect with you online.

     

    How's Your Inventory Situation?

     

    Before the holiday rush, make sure you have enough inventory on hand to meet customer demand. One way to assess your inventory going into the holiday season is to look at your sales data from previous years. This will give you an idea of how much product you'll need to have on hand to meet customer demand. Also, consider your supply chain and ensure that you have enough raw materials on hand to meet your production needs. It's also worthwhile to review your customer orders to ensure you can fill them all in a timely manner.

     

    Review Your Finances and Plan for Tax Season

     

    End-of-year bookkeeping can be tricky, so it's important to reconcile your records before closing out the year. Review outstanding bills and invoices, make any necessary payments and send out statements to late-paying customers. The last thing you want is to end the year in the red.

     

    This is also an opportune time to organize your tax information. This includes everything from reviewing your deductions to ensuring that your records are in order. Once you have your paperwork lined up, start digitizing everything so that you can organize everything in one place. Try this tool to convert docs to PDFs to minimize clutter and save yourself headaches down the road.

     

    Phew—that was a lot! But don't worry, we promise it's worth it. These end-of-year preparations may seem like a lot of work, but they'll pay off in spades come January 1st. By taking care of these items now, you'll be able to start the new year with a clean slate.


    Membership in the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce offers invaluable benefits to entrepreneurs in our community. Join us today!