Year-End Checklist for Small Business Owners



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⏰TIMESTAMPS⏰
00:16 – Audit your website (demo)
03:03 – Get your finances in order
04:28 – Look back on your marketing efforts
05:40 – Review your social media accounts
06:34 – Review your local listings
07:32 – Evaluate your conferences and groups

With another year skidding to a close, it’s time to get started on those end-of-year tasks. You spend all year running your own business, now it’s time to get things in order. To make it easy, we’ve compiled this list.

1. Audit your website

Turns out, your clients don’t like static websites — which is why the most effective sites are those that are watched and updated regularly. Here are some things to check.

-The basics

Look at your website as if you had never seen it before and know nothing about your business. Is your navigation clear and intuitive? Is there a Contact Us link on every page of your website? If Contact Us triggers an automatic email, review the email content. Are your social media buttons in the same place on every page? Is all site content up to date? Delete, revise or refresh as needed.

-Make sure it talks to search engines

Search engines like Google are your best friend since future clients will use them to find you. Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. Learn how to make them pay special attention to your site, by utilizing keyword research. It’s well worth the time and effort.

-Conduct a website performance test

Most performance tests measure two things: resource loading and page speed. Together they constitute a huge pain point for clients in every industry if they don’t perform well. But you won’t know it’s a problem if you don’t look.

-Do a security check

With Google’s transition to HTTPS everywhere, an SSL is imperative to keep traffic coming. Beyond that, you’ll also want malware protection and possibly backup services (if they’re not already included in your hosting plan).

-Consider starting a blog

Blogging is a proven way to generate new leads for your business. By publishing helpful articles on topics of interest to prospective clients, you can reel in people who otherwise wouldn’t know about you. Linking back to your website in each post brings them in the digital door.

2. Get your financial house in order

Prepare for your annual meetings with your tax accountant, lawyers or consultants now before the first flakes (real or synthetic) fall. Don’t wait to send bank confirmations, especially if your business has a December 31 year-end. Be sure to file an annual report if it’s required in your state. If you do have to file, do it before the end of the year to avoid late fees. Then, prep for end-of-year financial reporting.

3. Look back at the year’s marketing efforts

There’s often a lot of enthusiasm when it comes to trying new marketing tactics. Banner ads! Link building! But with all the other hats you wear, it’s easy to forget to look back at what worked, what should be shelved, and what should be kept and improved.

– Tally up what you spent

You’ll need this for your taxes. This will also serve as a starting point for next year’s budget.

– Clean up your email list

This will not only endear you to the universe of weary email users, but it will also keep you off email blacklists. Not to mention with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this is a must to make sure you’re in compliance.

– Social media it up

Social media is uniquely effective in growing a business — unlike other forms of marketing, it’s a two-way conversation. You can interact with and actually learn from clients. What do they love about what you’re doing now? What could do to serve them better?

– Review your local listings

Local business listings are often the first search results to appear when someone Googles a term like “car insurance,” “IT troubleshooting,” or “tax return prep.” Make sure your address, phone and hours are up to date in all listings.

– Evaluate professional conferences and groups

Start checking out dates, renewing memberships and making reservations. Apply for one or two speaking opportunities to build your professional reputation.

Don’t wait until your accountant starts sending frantic emails or for contractors to ask where their 1099s are. Use this year-end checklist for professional service firms, then set aside an hour or two each week to check a few more things off the list. Come New Year’s, you’ll be glad you did.

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