Show 2022 Who's Boss: Here Are 7 Ways Prep for Taxes, IT and More
Think you’re ready for the end of the year? For owners of small businesses, year end isn’t just about holidays and getting a new calendar. It’s also a time to take stock of where your business is, what comes next and what financial and logistical tasks you need to complete by Dec. 31.
As you’re closing out 2021, here are seven tasks to help ensure that you’re being savvy and are poised for a successful 2022.
1. Assess your tax situation.
It’s always a good time to meet with your accountant or bookkeeper, and 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:
· Legal and professional services
· Business property rent
· Advertising and marketing
· Bad debt
· Employee salaries
Again, talk to your financial professional to ensure you’re poised to take advantage of the tax breaks that apply to your business.
Need to learn the tax basics for your small business? Sign up for the IRS Small Business Tax Workshop hosted by Kansas Small Business Development Center. Want to make sure you’re covering all the bases? Check out SCORE’s 2021 Year-End Tax Planning for Your Business webinar.
2. Evaluate your business entity.
The legal structure of a business isn’t set in stone. Say you started out as a sole proprietor but now need to hire employees. Or maybe your small LLC is now blooming into a large venture. It may be time to switch your business entity.
LLC, S Corporation or who knows what? 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 help, just give us a call at 816-235-6500 or tell us what you need here, and we can connect you with the experts in KC who can help at no or little cost.
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3. Look at staffing – or lack thereof.
Review your current workload and your projections for 2022. Will this be the year you need to hire your first employees or increase your existing team? Make sure you’re poised 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 in 2022, 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.
Explore hiring best practices with KCSourceLink’s Guide to Growing Your Business.
4. Verify vendor info and relationships.
The one thing that’s constant is change. Make sure you have up-to-date contact and relationship information for your vendors. And purge any inactive vendors from your system.
The end of the year is also a great time to reevaluate relationships. A fresh look can help you identify opportunities to find new vendors and negotiate better deals with existing ones.
2021 has been a year unlike any other, with supply-chain issues and inflation. Get insight into where we go from here at the 2021 Economic Forecast Virtual Event, hosted by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
5. Revisit your IT situation.
When’s the last time you backed up your computer system? Make sure that important files – including contacts, accounting 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. Any business can be a target. Avoid losing valuable data and time – and money, if ransomware comes into play. Learn how to enhance your business’s cyber security.
6. Review your marketing strategy.
What worked? What didn’t? Answer these questions before you spend more time and money on marketing in the new year. Identify where most of your business came from in 2021 and redouble your efforts in these areas.
An important piece of housekeeping that many business owners overlook is a website audit. That’s a fancy name for looking at each page of your site. Make sure all the info is accurate and displays correctly. And test all the links to make sure they work. Something as simple as a dead-end link can turn off potential customers.
Finally, look for marketing opportunities that are worth a try in the coming year. Video marketing is a hot topic. Learn all about it and how it can work for you. SCORE is hosting a Market Your Business With Video webinar. And Square One Small Business Services by Mid-Continent Public Library has an upcoming session on using TikTok to promote your business.
7. Reflect on your successes
Maybe you exceeded your targets in 2021. Or perhaps your main achievement was surviving the year. 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.
Look at your goals and pat yourself on the back for the steps you’ve made. And 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.
Bonus: Take your business to the next level
Make 2022 your year! KCSourceLink’s Resource Partners can give you the know-how to make it happen.
Check out our calendar of events 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.
Not sure where to begin? Start with a Personal Action Plan. Our Network Navigators will create an individualized checklist of which experts to meet with and what to do. Share a little information about your venture and we can help you on your way to success. And did we mention our services are free? That’s an end-of-year price** that can’t be beat!
**You’re right – Personal Action Plans are always free. So that’s a beginning-of-the-year and middle-of-the-year price that can’t be beat, too!
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