By: Kenneth Wardle | Chief Executive Officer
The New Year is an exciting time for your small business! The time ahead is a blank slate ready for you to explore new opportunities and conquer the daily challenges of entrepreneurship. However, as a small business owner, the start of the year can also seem a bit overwhelming as you contemplate your responsibilities and work ahead. Now is the perfect time to plan for some of the nitty-gritty details that are part of running your business.
Getting organized now will help things run smoothly and will reduce stress later. So, let’s take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves, and get ready for an outstanding year. Here are 5 actions you can take now to eliminate stress and kick this year off right.
Your business has changed over the last year, so your insurance requirements may have changed, too. Give your insurance professional a call to review your coverage for the next year. Having the right coverage will help your small business avoid any unpleasant surprises in case of a claim. If your business or practice handles confidential or private information, check to make sure your coverage includes a data breach policy in case of cybercrime. Sometimes there are updates to worker’s compensation requirements, so it is always good to double check your coverage. The National Federation of Independent Businesses has a great checklist HERE.
While you are checking to make sure your coverage is complete, be sure to ask about discounts for combining policies or for improvements made to your property over the last year. Consider taking advantage of discounts for paying ahead of time. Knowing that you have the insurance your small business needs will help you relax and may save the day if damage or an accident happens in the year ahead.
Time to drag out your files and take a close look at the permits and licenses your business requires. If any are about to expire, now is the time to re-apply and prepare for any required inspections. Even if you have some time before your paperwork expires, getting the forms you need now and setting a few reminders on your calendar is a great idea. Local and state licenses are usually renewed on an annual basis. Check with your city hall or county and state government offices to obtain any necessary paperwork. Sometimes fees change, too, so be sure you double check the fee for each license. Also keep in mind that expanding your business or offering a new service may require additional permits. Planning for this now will avoid the stress of missing deadlines or stressing out over slow office turnaround when you need this important paperwork.
Ideally, you can look at the list of vendors your small business uses and know that you are getting the best service and the best prices. If this is the case, let your vendors know how much you appreciate them and tell them you look forward to working with them in the upcoming months. However, there is a good chance that the needs of your business have shifted or you feel that you could do better by shopping around.
For many business owners, changing vendors can be stressful because you sympathize with your vendors as fellow business owners, or you worry about how this will affect your relationship with the vendor. If it is time to negotiate prices, check for bulk pricing, or bring up service issues that need to be addressed, do it now. It is better to address these issues than let them hang over your head. A good vendor will want to keep you happy and keep your business. You may feel like you have already given a vendor a second (or third) chance. If they have not met your standards, don’t be afraid to make a change. Having confidence in your vendors will help you relax since you know your business will get what it needs in a timely fashion and at a good price.
As you plan for the next year, what changes will you need to make in staffing? If your small business plans to grow, now is the time to start planning for new hires. Finding the right talent can be critical to your success, but it might take time and money to make this happen. A merchant cash advance from Jet Capital is a useful financing tool for preparing for new hires. Take the time now to line up the capital you need to make a quick decision if the right person comes along.
Make a list of the talents and skills you need in new hires, and think carefully about the workload for each new employee. There is a delicate balance to finding the right person and giving them the right amount of work. Planning now and having clear job descriptions will help you clarify what you really need and launch the hiring process.
As a small business owner, you know you may have to spend money to keep making money. You may need new equipment or inventory, or costly repairs may be necessary along the way. Perhaps your marketing efforts will need a little cash to keep moving your business forward. Take a few moments to project your spending as your small business grows over the next year. While it is impossible to predict the future, you may quickly think of a few large expenses that you know are looming on the horizon for your business. Rather than stress out about it or wait until it becomes an emergency, take a proactive attitude and start planning now. If you know you are going to need working capital to keep your business running smoothly, consider a merchant cash advance. Jet Capital understands the needs of small business owners and will help you work out a flexible payment plan. Planning ahead for larger than usual expenses will certainly relieve stress and allow you to focus on growth.
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