The Ultimate 5 Step End Of Year Checklist For Small Business Owners
By Sara Alter
Photograph by ChiChi Ubiña
In theory, December is the perfect time to reflect and plan for the year ahead. But in reality, for small business owners, it can feel like the busiest time of the year. I would bet you a night in a hotel alone that the words “burned out” have come up for you in conversation more than once over the past few weeks.
While you may not have a lot of time for quiet reflection, I would still encourage you to work through this end-of-year checklist to take stock of your accomplishments, lessons, set-backs, and to set goals that will help your business successfully move forward in 2022.
1. REVIEW AND UPDATE FINANCIAL REPORTS
This is the least fun item on the list, but at a minimum, I recommend putting together a profit and loss statement. Look at where your money went last year and determine whether you’re on track to meet your profit goals and cash flow needs. Remember, sales are amazing but revenue won’t equal profits unless your inflows are greater than your outflows.
And on that note, review your marketing spend for the previous year to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Consider eliminating marketing expenses that are not providing a positive ROI (return on investment). If you’re spending a lot of money on a particular marketing or sales strategy and not seeing results, it’s the perfect time to switch focus in the new year and explore new marketing trends for 2022.
2. LIST YOUR YEARLY BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS
With the rush of day to day life and the urgency to shift from one task right to the next, it’s easy to forget about the milestones, accomplishments and the obstacles you’ve overcome over the last 365 days. Listing them out on paper is a great feel-good task and one that allows you to determine where you should place continued efforts and where you could afford to pivot. Heading in to the new year, you might even consider listing out your accomplishments as a daily practice. Research shows it can prime your brain for confidence and achievement. Once you’ve made your list, be sure to share it with your team, family, and social media besties to thank your support system for their contributions along the way.
3. IDENTIFY YOUR HIRING AND OUTSOURCING NEEDS
When you establish your goals for the next 12 months, your staffing needs should be part of that decision. Think about the tasks you haven’t enjoyed doing, didn’t have time for, or don’t have the expertise to do very well. With the hindsight of the year behind you, it can be time well spent considering whether or not you’ll need additional support. As a working mom, that could be anyone from a college intern, virtual assistant, or additional help around the house – whatever it takes to make you feel organized, productive and supported. Here is a list of things moms can outsource without guilt to get you started! Once you decide if you’ll need more help in the coming year, calculate if you have the money to pay for it. If you don’t, map out a savings plan and add this item to your list of 2022 goals.
4. TEST AND FINE-TUNE YOUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA FEED
Even though it’s very common, your website should not be designed and forgotten. Take a few minutes to go through your site and click on every link to make sure they all work. Then, send yourself a note using the contact form and confirm that it’s functioning and that the user experience is up to your current standards. Finally, does your branding match the current image you want your business to project? If not, put a website update on your list for next year. Even something as simple as swapping out images or headlines can keep your site feeling fresh and up to date. Here are 9 innovative web design trends for 2022 to give you a fresh perspective.
As for social media, people say that it’s “free” marketing, but I beg to differ. Time is money and if you’ve been dedicating hours of your time to create a social media feed that isn’t converting to paid customers or clients, it’s time for a strategy overhaul. The first thing to do is take stock of what has and has not been translating. To do this, visit your “insights” page on Instagram and make a note of the topics, images and graphics that have been your top performers. Next take a look at the posts that haven’t done so well. Keep this list as a reminder when you create new content. Research and data don’t lie – whether you choose to factor it in to your social media strategy is up to you!
Heading into 2022, video content is here to stay so on your website and social media platforms, it’s imperative that you incorporate video into your online marketing strategy. But don’t just take it from me! Here are social media marketing trend predictions straight from the pros.
5. LOOK TO THE FUTURE
What goals do you have for the coming year? What risks and threats does your business face in 2022? Using customer feedback, financial statements, and your vision for the future, assess realistic business goals for the year ahead. Focus on both the strengths and weaknesses of your business when mapping out ideas and an actionable plan. And remember unlike a dream, goals are purposeful, action-based plans. When implemented effectively, S.M.A.R.T guidelines will put your business in the best possible position to kick off a new year of growth and success in your business. I can’t wait to see what you do next!
In wrapping up, it’s been a joy to learn and grow with you and your business over the last year. I wish you continued success! You can find me on Instagram @momentconsulting for more of my business tips, tricks and insight to support you throughout 2022. If you’re interested in 1:1 coaching, please visit MOMENT or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year!
Sara is the Founder and Head Business Coach at MOMENT Consulting. Moment provides business, marketing, and social media support to mom entrepreneurs creating, scaling, and rebranding small businesses. Moment takes the guess-work out of figuring out the next steps in your business and provides the guidance and resources to grow your brand and set your business up for long-term success. Sara has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, CEO MOM Magazine and in Conde Nast Fingerprints as their pick for creative innovator.