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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Tips to start the New Year on the right business foot!

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This is peak time for many small businesses trying to meet the demands of the holiday season. I'm hopeful that this season turns out to be one of your best. I'm also hopeful that you'll get the chance to rest, relax, celebrate and spend time with those dearest to you very soon.

I also hope you get some time to step back from your business to reflect and plan for the coming year. The end of December into the New Year is the very best time to do that. A business owner recently shared with me that you need to be organized form the beginning because once you get busy, there is no time to back track to set things up right!

So now is the time to get organized and prepare to make the New Year your best year.

Here are eight things to take care of sooner rather than later!

1. Review and update your business plan.

What has changed this past year in your business, what do you hope to accomplish in the New Year and how will you get there?

2. Organize your books and your accounts.

If you don't yet have an accounting system, get one! If you have one, make sure it's up to date and capturing all your income and expenses. If you need a system to do a better job of tracking orders and inventory, set it up now! Consult with your accountant as needed.

3. Review your product mix.

What products are services are working best for you, and what should you get rid of? Should you add new products/services this year?

4. Adjust your pricing.

Should your prices be raised? Lowered? Check your current cost of goods and other costs associated with operating your business. Did you make a profit this year? If not, find out why. And make the adjustments necessary to ensure you make a profit in 2013.

5. Update your website, social media and marketing materials.

Now is a great time to review, change and update all of your marketing strategies. For some of you, it may be time to bring in professional help if your current strategies are not working for you. 

6. Review your personnel needs.

Are you growing? Do you need more help? What areas of your business can you manage, and what areas do you need help managing? Do you need to hire an employee (or more) or farm out work to consultants and other business that could support your business?

7. Review insurance coverage.

As your business grows, so do your assets and what you need to protect. Schedule a sit-down with your insurance agent to review the current state of your business to ensure that you are adequately protected in the event of a loss.

8. Plan vacation time!

Business owners are notorious for never taking a vacation. But taking a vacation can be the best thing for your business (and you). If you wait until you 'have time,' you will never take time off! Take out your 2013 calendar now and plan time away from your business in advance!

I wish you a prosperous and happy holiday season. Here's to 2013!

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