used with permission from SBA.gov
by Bridget Weston Pollack
The dawn of 2017 likely brings with it new optimism — not just in your personal life, but for your business as well. But are you ready to take on this new year wisely?
Before you start making sweeping changes in your small business, take a look at these six tools which can help you along the way. They’ll inform your business decisions (and maybe some personal ones, too.)
1. An accounting system
No matter how good your accountant is, s/he can’t read minds. Whether you prefer desktop or cloud-based models, make sure you have an accounting system on your side in 2017.
Keeping a record of your financial choices as you move through the year will make it easier to control your expenses and prepare for your next round of tax payments. And if your business ever gets audited, you’ll be so glad to have your accounting system to refer.
Not sure where to start? Try Intuit QuickBooks, Xero, Zoho, or Freshbooks.
2. A calendar
Who doesn’t love opening a new calendar or planner as the new year arrives? Choose a calendar that works for your lifestyle to better manage your time. A paper planner can help you stay organized by requiring you to pen in each detail, while a digital version can keep your schedule up-to-date at your fingertips.
Don’t forget to schedule important recurring dates like tax payments, employee pay periods and anticipated supply ordering dates.
3. Design tools
You don’t need to be an artist or a Photoshop wizard to create compelling graphics for your business. For everything from flyers to banners to social media posts, find the online tool that works for your business needs. Check out Canva, Pixlr, or GIMP.
Looking for a company to help you create and order physical marketing items? Try Vistaprint or Deluxe.
You can’t deny it forever: When you’re tired and worn-out, your business just doesn’t run as well. Commit to getting more sleep in 2017, even if it’s just an extra half-hour each night.
Have a hard time breaking away from business matters right before bedtime? Keep your phone in the next room, and instead, rely on an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake you up each morning. Turning your bedroom into a no-phone zone might be just the thing you need!
5. An updated business plan
The end of the year is the perfect time to review your business plan and make updates as needed to benefit your company’s growth.
Now, it’s time to put that change into action. Remember that small changes can be as effective as large ones.
6. A mentor
Don’t dive into this year’s business goals without a mentor! Attend a SCORE workshop near you or online, and sign up to meet with a mentor. No matter where you are in your small business journey, a mentor can help keep you on the right track toward success.