What kind of end-of-year tasks do you do with your business?
December 23, 2018 3:52 PM   Subscribe

And maybe you're not a business owner but maybe you're a decision-maker at your company or you work for yourself part-time...what kind of things do you think about doing at year-end to help steer your next year's business?

Obviously, I'll be closing out my books. Make sure I've got all my income and expenses tallied. I need to send out 1099s for the first time so I'm learning that. I also just started with QuickBooks Online so I'm hoping that it will help me in 2019. For data, I'm hoping to dig in and get a better sense of how much time I spend on leads when they come in. And I'm also looking at how much time I spend on "other things" which are not billable. As a solo business owner, it's my personal goal to figure out during my day that the work is done and then not dink around when I could be doing other things...like fitness...or napping. :)

I'd love to hear what tried-and-true wrap-up tasks/exercises/goals you have for your business/work-life or what you are trying to understand now so that you can do better next year.
posted by amanda to Work & Money (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Look into 80/20 analysis, so you can identify what's really working for you and what's holding your business back.
posted by pyro979 at 5:10 PM on December 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I belong to a group of female business owners and solopreneurs on Facebook. We're working collectively on planning out next year using OKRs and breaking the metrics down by quarter (and even month).

We're also journaling on what worked in life and in business this year, what didn't work, what we want to say yes to in 2019, what we want to say no to, how we intend to show up in 2019, things like that.

I'm a mindset and motivation coach, so I also review a lot of things specific to my line of work. Programs, courses, continuing education, etc. Looking at what's worked this past year, planning for the coming year.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 5:25 PM on December 23, 2018

This is my first first year in business for myself, so take this less as "tried and true" and more, "thoughts from a fellow comrade". I just wrapped up my big projects for the year, and I'm using this bit of downtime to really reflect on what worked well for me, what didn't, and what I want to do differently (e.g., how do I get more projects/clients like this and ugh how do I prevent doing too much of that again). I'm planning out what I need to focus on for marketing, and reviewing emails I sent and things I wrote to clients/prospects see what I should set up as templates to re-use. I'm looking through my bookkeeping to remind myself if I have any tools/services I thought I'd use that I haven't that much, so I can decide whether to cancel them or take a hard look at their value and purpose. I'm planning out general activity themes and targets for each quarter of 2019.
posted by shelbaroo at 6:12 PM on December 23, 2018

End of year is a great time to re-organize files (digital and physical) and to think about how to document any policies, procedures, instructions, etc., that can help you create institutional memory.
posted by radioamy at 8:47 PM on December 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

Talk to your accountant, even if it's yourself.
Know whether you are cash basis or accrual basis.
If you are cash basis, and also have excess income this tax year, pay as much of your expenses as you can so it offsets the taxes.
It makes a difference for tax purposes, whether something happens on 12/31 or 1/1.
posted by dum spiro spero at 9:27 PM on December 23, 2018

Expanding on radioamy’s mention of institutional memory, I keep a calendar of annual and seasonal events tied to my business and revise and expand on it each year, plotting out key dates for planning and execution for the coming year and adjusting them based on the previous year.
posted by furtive at 1:47 AM on December 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

End-of-year stock inventory (if you're a business that involves stocking physical items) to see how far your records and your actual inventory have diverged and set the record straight. This involves going through every single item and physically recording its existence (counting scales help if you have big bins of small parts to count) in a much more detailed and exhaustive way than you normally bother to do.

Autopsy meetings for all the year's jobs (actually this is done twice yearly because a full year's worth would take too long). Sit down with your team (or by yourself I guess, if "solo business owner" means you have no employees) and go over all the jobs you did, spending just a few minutes for each one. Break them down in terms of your overall impression of how they went, how healthy your profit margin was, whether the customer was happy (and if not then why not), what went well, what went poorly, and how it could be done better if you had it to do again. Take notes and go over them at the end to see if any common themes emerge.

Have a party.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:19 AM on December 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

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