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With less than a month for the New Year, small to medium businesses (SMBs) are busy catering to the holiday shoppers. However, they should not forget to make a checklist to end 2011on the right note! SMBs should take some time off to retrospect how their business has been doing for the last one year and also look into the changes and the renovation they wish to make in the coming year. The SMB owners should pen down their achievements of this year, areas where they have faltered, what they will do to rectify the errors and when they will do it, and also the targets for the next year. The checklist will give them a clear idea about how to begin their new year.

2011 year-end Checklist for Small Businesses

With only a few weeks more to go before the year ends, it is the right time to step back from the day-to-day activities and make an appraisal of the year. Here are a few checklist-points which can come handy to those who are not sure of how to go about it.

Strategic business plans – Before you take a holiday break, it is important to review your business plans for the year 2011. This is important because it will help you to make new goals and objectives for the coming year. Write down the goals you achieved and also the ones you could not achieve. If you have not met your target for this year, pen down your thoughts on how to achieve your strategic goals the next year.

Put your financial documents together – It’s time to gather all the financial documents for tax preparation. Ensure that you file your receipts related to business expenses-so that these can be used for tax deductions. Also find out about the changes or-modifications in the tax laws. For instance, the American Jobs Act mentioned about job-waiver for those small businesses who recruit new employees or if there is a salary hike for the existing staff.

Evaluate your profits and losses – With the help of your accountant check your balance sheet to evaluate your profits and losses of the current year as against the previous year.This will help you strategics plans to boost profit in the coming year. Also give a thought to your retirement plans if you don’t have one in place.

Update your business plan – If you are unable to complete a task or meet a deadline in 2011, then remove it promptly from the to-do list. Instead of running away from these issues strategics a strong and solid plan of action to resolve these issues. You should not hesitate to re-evaluate your goals and change the tenets of your business plan according to the changes in economy and circumstances.

Evaluate the web presence of your business – Update the information on your website promptly. Remember social media channels are not only for networking but also can be used as marketing and advertising tools. Therefore ensure that the information in the social networking pages is accurate and these pages are functional. Keep aside a budget to leverage the latest technologies such as cloud computing to propel your business forward.

Keep aside funds for better branding – Branding and marketing go hand in hand. Online advertising also plays a vital role in increasing the visibility of your business. If you are unable to do it on your own, get the expertise of an experienced person.Save where you can – make a list of things that you can do without. This will curtail unwanted expenditure. Cut back on your utility bills and also get rid of unnecessary expenses. Also get rid of the old phones, computers and printers that cannot be repaired.Get rid of the clutter to create more office space. If any equipment cannot be upgraded, donate it, recycle it or hold a sale.

Create a file for 2012 – Open a new file to organize new projects plans, tax plans and business plans for the next year. Early start will give you an edge over other entrepreneurs.

Last but not the least, with Christmas and New Year round the corner; do not forget to send the season’s greetings and holiday wishes to your loyal customers and clients. The clients will appreciate you for remembering them. Also enclose a year-end survey to find out how you can serve them better in the coming year.

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