Year end checklist for businesses: Each year, businesses—regardless of size—have to reevaluate how they play the game with a year-end checklist. Whether you’re a multi-billion conglomerate like Apple, who came under fire this year for transparency issues; or a growing startup like Deciem, whose ever-popular skincare line The Ordinary was scrutinized because of their CEO’s erratic behavior on social media, it pays to take stock of where your business currently is, to know where the new year is set to take you.
Your Business’ Year-End Checklist
Now—where to start?
First, give yourself some much-deserved credit. 2018 was intense, and a quick pat on the back for everything that you have achieved, despite the year’s ups and downs is merited. But to make sure your business is primed to take on what 2019 has in store, be sure that you carefully read these practical and forward-looking must-dos and tick all the boxes off this year-end checklist—
Year End Checklist For Businesses #1: Take A Serious Look At What Last Year Was Like
Be totally honest—what was your previous year like for your business? Don’t sugarcoat anything or make excuses for any less than ideal events. Start by taking a closer look at your offerings—was there a specific product or service that didn’t do well or stood out? Review your website analytics and check which parts and sections show high or low engagement. Talk about your team members and take an in-depth look at their strengths and weaknesses; there could be an opportunity to shuffle people around so you can maximize their strengths and skills.
The whole point of this exercise is to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Identifying what you did well means you have the chance to develop that. Knowing what you need to work on, gives you an opportunity to focus more on it and grow your skills.
Year End Checklist For Businesses #2: Recap All Your Wins
Businesses focus too much on what they did wrong. Not because they’re suckers for punishment, but mostly because it helps them pinpoint areas where they can improve and streamline their operations. This is why this next item on this year-end checklist is arguably one of the most important ones.
While being honest about which aspects of your business need improvement is crucial to your growth, you also have to take some time to enjoy and appreciate everything you did right. Grab your team and list down everything—even the smallest, most innocuous wins—that you made happen.
Reminding yourself of all you have accomplished is a great way to establish the right, positive mindset as you embark on new goals for the coming year.
Year End Checklist For Businesses #3: Catch Up On Your Bookkeeping
Part of taking an honest look at how well your business did in 2018 means reviewing your numbers. How much did your company make? Did you bring in more than you spent? Do your books reflect this accurately?
Granted, it may not sound like the most enjoyable task, but you can’t start the year in the dark. You have to know where you stand financially so you can get an overall picture of your profits and losses. Sit down with your accountant and make sure everything is taken care of, especially when it comes to year-end taxes to avoid paying penalties.
Year End Checklist For Businesses #4: Create Multiple Backups Of All Your Files
This is one of the most often-ignored but fundamental aspects of running a business: data back ups. It’s tedious, time-consuming, but it absolutely must be done.
We take access to files and data for granted that we don’t even realize how important they are to our day-to-day work until an unfortunate accident or force majeure causes us to lose all of our business’ data.
Of course, the simple remedy is to back it all up. But even that tends to be forgotten amid everything you have to do as the year winds to a close. To that end, be sure that you tick this off your year-end checklist:
Stock up on hard drives, sign up for a subscription to cloud storage apps, dedicate a full day to organizing everything and archiving old files so you can rest assured that you’re covered in case of an emergency.
Moving everything to a cloud-based platform is a great way to ensure that everyone will have access to important data when they need it, but you also have to make sure that everything is safe and secure–not just from accidents and errors, but malicious attacks as well.
If you don’t have the time to attend to all this, a great option would be to partner with a managed services provider who can help you streamline your data on a digital or cloud-based platform and ensure data security.
Year End Checklist For Businesses #5: Map Out 2019 Goals
Where do you want to go in 2019? What do you want to achieve? With everything that you already know regarding your company’s operational and financial standing, you can easily create a rundown of what you want to accomplish for the new year. You can include new marketing objectives, setting new sales targets, and overarching company goals for growth.
Besides, knowing what you’re working towards can ultimately inspire you and the rest of your team to take concrete steps and work towards it.
Year End Checklist For Businesses #6: Show Your Team Some Appreciation
To be clear, showing employee appreciation should be a year-round endeavor for any company. However, towards the end of the year, given how busy it gets and all the preparations needed to usher in the new year, it pays to go the extra mile to make your team feel special. And that’s why we’re making a point to include it in this year-end checklist. Let them know that all their efforts are being recognized and everything they do is appreciated. Investing in your employees career development and acknowledge their value is one of the most powerful things you can do as a leader and business owner.
Let them know that the company recognizes their dedication and loyalty—you’d be surprised at how this can contribute to the motivation that your employees will have as you embark on 2019 plans.
You know how they say that “businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail?” It may be clichéd, but it’s a cliché for a reason—because it’s true.
Reviewing and planning your business to understand how you can move forward tends to take the backseat to the daily tedium of running one. Hopefully, this checklist inspires you to do otherwise—and you’ll see how something as simple as the steps on this list can make planning for the new year easier.