If getting your books organized for your accountant come tax time gives you shivers (and you had a hard time getting your receipts organized last week), it’s time to set a goal for 2017. Start off on the right foot so you can put the stress away and start focusing on your business.
That doesn’t mean that you have to create loads of spreadsheets that you never touch again. Setting up 2017 for success is much more than that, and it’s not all spreadsheets.
First, you need to figure out how you’re going to keep tabs on your business expenses. Just like we did to get your 2016 books ready for your accountant, create 12 folders—one for each month—or buy a 12-section accordion folder for your receipts. You may also want to find an app that will allow you to store receipts electronically, for when you’re on the go. Personally, I use Evernote or save them directly into QuickBooks Online.
Look at Your Budget
Next, look at your profit and loss statements from 2016. Know where you spent your money and where your income came from. Clean out your subscriptions, canceling anything you don’t use regularly. And really analyze what services you’re using too. Do you need to pay for those stock photos? Can you cut back on your Facebook ads? If it’s not working for you and helping you move toward your goals, consider stripping it out of your budget.
Adjust Your Client List
I know that I’m not the ideal bookkeeper for everyone who might need one. Just like you know that everyone who needs your services is not the best match for you, either. Take a look at your pricing structure and make adjustments. If you’ve added new services to your docket, be sure to charge for them. If you have a client who is taking up more time than you’ve budgeted for them or if you’re just not overjoyed to be working with someone, it’s okay to release them as your client. You own your own business because you want to take ownership. You want to be able to make the decisions about who you work with.
Write Your Goals
If you want to get it done, put it in writing. Set your business goals—both financial and productivity—for 2017. What money barriers do you want to bust? What new programs and services will you release next year? When you write it down you’re much more likely to get it done. Then put it on pretty paper and post it on your wall, where you’ll see it every day. This year, I’m using Your Best Year 2017 by Lisa Jacobs and am loving how it merges both personal and professional goals, all in one place.
Look at Your Personal Life
Yep, I went there. Everyone has a personal life and whether you’d like to admit it or not, sometimes what’s going on at home affects what’s going on in the home office. Personal goals, family life, even your own extracurricular activities can get in the way of your business goals. Don’t get me wrong—that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it is something you need to take into account as you’re planning your goals for the coming year.
Whatever you do, be sure to plan ahead. The holidays are a busy time, but they’re also a good time to sit down and reflect on where you’ve come from this year so you can move forward with more momentum next year.
So how’s your list looking? Are you ready for 2017?