7 Steps to Prep Your Small Business or Side Hustle for the New Year

A woman shoots confetti into the air

7 Steps to Prep Your Small Business or Side Hustle for the New Year

Out with the old, in with the new? Not so fast. Before you ring in the new year, make sure your business is ready for 2024.

The end of the year is an ideal time to take stock of your business. Taking a hard look at what’s working, what could improve and how you want to grow in the coming year can help you meet – and exceed – your goals. These seven tips can show you how to make 2024 your best year yet.

1. Evaluate your business entity.

The legal structure of a business isn’t set in stone. If you started out as a sole proprietor but now need to hire employees or if your small LLC is blooming into a big ol’ venture, it may be time to upgrade your business entity.

LLC, S Corporation or who knows what? The Forms of Business Organization section in our Guide to Starting a Business provides a helpful overview of the structure options. Talk to a legal professional to find the entity type that best fits your current needs and future goals. And if you need a little guidance, KCSourceLink is here to help. Just give us a call at 816-235-6500 or tell us what your business or business idea needs here, and we’ll connect you for free with the KC experts organizations who can help.

2. Assess your tax situation.

Speaking of finances, it’s always a good time to meet with your accountant or bookkeeper. But touching base toward the end of the year can be especially helpful. Now is the time to make sure you understand tax deadlines and are poised to claim deductions and credits.

What deductions apply to you depend on your specific business situation. But common deductions include the costs of:

  • business insurance
  • legal and professional services
  • business property rent
  • advertising and marketing
  • business use of car
  • bad debt
  • employee salaries and benefits
  • inventory
  • office supplies and expenses
  • travel expenses

Talk to your financial pro to ensure you’re able to take advantage of the tax breaks that apply to your business.

If the basics of small business finances aren’t your forte, you’re not alone – and help is available. In January, KCSourceLink Resource Partner SCORE KC is hosting a series of free financial classes:

Check out the KCSourceLink calendar to find more educational opportunities.

3. Look at staffing – or lack thereof.

Will 2024 be the year to hire your first employees? Or will your existing team have a growth spurt? Take an honest look at your projections and make sure you’re ready for these changes.

Before you hire anyone, you’ll need to apply for an employee identification number (EIN) and register to pay payroll taxes. You’ll also need workers’ compensation insurance and have a plan for providing benefits.

If you plan to increase your staff size, talk to your accountant. A larger workforce may impact what regulations apply to your business. It may also mean new options for insurance and other protection.

KCSourceLink has a ton of hiring resources:

Bonus: Look at where your staff works.

The office isn’t what it used to be. No matter your staff size, make sure your current workplace is working for you. Here are five ways coworking might be a great choice. And if you’re ready to explore your options, check out our Guide to Every Coworking Space in Kansas City.

4. Revisit your IT situation.

When did you last back up your computer system? Make sure that important files – including contacts, accounting and HR documents, client info and important emails – are backed up. An external hard drive or cloud-based storage system can make this easy.

Look, too, at your security. Hacking and cyberattacks don’t just happen to huge corporations. Small businesses are now cybercriminals’ prime targets. Avoid losing valuable data and time – and money, if ransomware comes into play. Learn how to ensure your business’s cybersecurity.

5. Review marketing.

What worked? What didn’t? Or where do you even start? Answer these questions before you spend time and money on marketing in the new year.

Marketing a small business can feel like yelling into the void. But you’re not alone. A workshop can help jumpstart your marketing and help you see your business in a new, energized way. Upcoming workshops with KCSourceLink Resource Partners include Social Media Mindset: Build Relationships not Clicks and Social Media 101: Unpaid Sources of Social.

And if you’re ready to explore new markets, there’s plenty of guidance around government contracting and international markets. Check out APEX Accelerator’s Government Contracting 101 workshop. Or connect with the certified global business professional at the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Johnson County Community College.

6. Reflect on your successes.

Maybe you exceeded your targets in 2023. Or perhaps your main achievement was surviving. Either way, it’s important to assess and be proud of what you accomplished.

Owning a business can mean you don’t get feedback unless something goes wrong. So take the time to look at where you’ve been and where you’re headed. Review your goals and pat yourself on the back for the steps you’ve made.

Reevaluate the goals you’re working toward. Are they still SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based? If not, it may be time to update your business goals. Here’s some insight into how goals can power your success.

7. Take your business to the next level.

Make 2024 your year! KCSourceLink can connect you with the people and programs to make it happen.

Check out the KCSourceLink Calendar to find upcoming programs and classes that can help you meet your goals. Our Resource Navigator™ can help you find the organizations that can educate, connect and empower you, too.

And if you don’t even know where to begin? Start with our Network Navigators. Share some info about your venture or idea, and they’ll design a free Personal Action Plan just for you. It’s an individualized checklist of who to meet in the Kansas City metro and what to do next. Think of it as a no-cost road map to success in 2024.

Thumbnail photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash.

Share this post