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Q4 Planning and Your Hudson Area Small Business

The fourth quarter is wrapping up, which means it's time to start thinking about year-end planning for your small business. This includes evaluating your goal achievement for the year, outlining new goals for the coming year, planning your holiday marketing, updating your website and social media profiles, stocking up on inventory, reviewing your accounting, organizing tax paperwork, and changing your business structure if necessary. By taking the time to plan now, you can ensure a successful start to the new year.


Evaluating Your Goals and Making New Ones


The first step in quarter four planning is to evaluate your goal achievement for the year. This will help you determine what areas of your business were successful and where you need to make changes for the coming year. To do this, review your sales numbers, customer feedback, employee performance reviews, and any other data you have available. Once you have a good understanding of how your business performed this year, you can begin setting goals for the coming year.


After you’ve evaluated your goal achievement for the year, it's time to start outlining new goals for the coming year. This process should include setting both long-term and short-term goals so that you have a roadmap to follow. When setting goals, be sure to make them SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Doing so will increase your chances of achieving them.


Planning Holiday Marketing


The holidays are a busy time for businesses of all sizes. To ensure that you're prepared, start planning your holiday marketing now. This includes creating holiday-themed sales and promotions, designing marketing materials (e.g., flyers, emails), and developing a social media strategy. One time-tested strategy is to create a gift guide in Word, add plenty of high quality product images, then use this free tool to convert Doc to PDF. Then, you can send your promotional PDF out to your email list and make it downloadable through your website to further expand your customer base.


Updating Your Web Presence & Social Media Profiles


Your website and social media profiles are important tools for attracting new customers and keeping existing ones engaged with your brand. With that in mind, be sure to update these platforms regularly with fresh content (e.g., blog posts, photos) and information about any sales or promotions you're running. Additionally, take some time to update your contact information and website design so that they're reflective of your current brand identity.


Stocking Up Inventory


Next, it's important to stock up on inventory before the holidays so that you can meet customer demand. This includes both finished products as well as any raw materials or supplies you need to produce them. Additionally, if you offer services rather than products, consider offering gift cards or packages so that customers can give your business as a gift this holiday season.


Reviewing Your Accounting Practices


Another key component of quarter four planning is reviewing your accounting from the past year. This includes reviewing expenses (e.g., rent, utilities), income (e..g., sales), profit margins (i.e., the difference between income and expenses), and tax liability (i..e., how much money you owe in taxes). Doing so will help you get a better understanding of your financial situation and make more informed decisions about spending in the coming year. Additionally, be sure to set aside money each month so that you can pay any taxes owed come April 15th.


Organizing Income Tax Paperwork


Another important task during quarter four planning is organizing tax paperwork from the past year. This includes collecting receipts for all business expenses as well as 1099 forms from any contractors or freelancers you hired throughout the year. Having this documentation readily available will make filing your taxes much easier come April 15th—and it could also help you maximize deductions and minimize liability.


Changing Your Business Structure if Necessary


Finally, if applicable, consider changing your business structure during quarter four planning. This could involve converting from a sole proprietorship to an LLC or S-Corp, or vice versa. The type of business structure you choose can have major implications on things like taxes, liability, and ownership. As such, it's important to choose one that makes sense for both your current situation and long-term goals.


By taking the time to plan ahead during quarter four, small businesses can set themselves up for success in the new year. From evaluating goal achievement to stocking up on inventory, there are a number of tasks that need to be completed before January 1st. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure a smooth transition into the new year.

Connect with and learn from other local business leaders by joining the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.

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