Five important things to do before you pop the cork

It’s that time of year when most businesses are thinking about the company Christmas party, sending out holiday greetings and taking a little time off to spend with the family. But for business owners – particularly if you are on a calendar fiscal year – there are a few other items you need to pay attention to before you bid farewell to 2009.

  1. Call your accountant – If you’re lucky and have had a good year, he may instruct you to make purchases, like upgrading technologies, or to make charitable donations so you’re not left with too much taxable cash. It certainly makes sense just to check in to see if there are any financial loose ends that need shoring up. This is also a great time to make an appointment with your financial advisor for January to review insurance policies, retirement funds, etc.
  1. Analyze vendor contractsSmall business guru Ty Freyvogel suggests you review your contracts and ask important questions such as. Are we getting optimum pricing based on how much business we’re doing together? Is the relationship mutually beneficial? Now’s the time to make either make necessary changes or thank the vendors your happy with.
  1. Review your marketing plan – Ideally, you should have done this already, but if not give it a good once over now. What expenditures gave you the best return on investment? How can you incorporate social media, which is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds, into your overall strategy? In the rapidly evolving world of marketing, it doesn’t hurt to take one more look at your 2010 plan as this year draws to a close.
  1. Talk to employeesThe Associated Press reports that especially in difficult economic times it’s important to check in with workers. Let them know where you see the company headed in the coming year and pay attention to the feedback they give you; you may hear of issues you were unaware of that will help as you move forward into a new year.
  1. Dust off the business plan – Again, it might be best to do this at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but it’s never too late to check the map. Your business plan is the most important document you have in terms of guiding your company to success. So at the very least, review the executive summary section and make sure you’re either still on course, or well positioned to change course if necessary in the coming year.
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