Financial Fridays: Tasks for Every Business Owner to Finish in January

January CalendarYou’ve slept off the New Year’s celebrations, and your schedule has a lot more gym time than it did in December. It must be the start of a new year! While the next twelve months can occasionally seem awfully far away, they’ll fly by before you know it. If you can get an early start on the most important tasks, though, you’ll be a lot more prepared for what’s ahead. Here’s a run-through of all the tasks you should take care of this month!

Set Up Quantitative Goals for the Next Year

It’s easy to say “Improve customer retention” or “Decrease product returns”. It’s harder to actually measure qualitative goals like that, which means no amount of tracking will help you check your ROI. Instead, set out specific qualitative goals, which has some sort of numerical element to them. For example: “Gain 3 new clients a month,” or “Increase our Twitter followers by 75% by the end of the year”. By putting a measurable, attainable goal out there, you’ll have a better chance at checking your pace and keeping to it.

Make a Plan to Scale

Every business owner dreams of making it big. But many don’t know how to do it correctly. Maybe it’s due to a grant being given, or acceptance into an incubator, or you make the decision to apply for a loan from a New Orleans business bank. Whatever the choice, you can come into money rather quickly. It’s a true test of a successful entrepreneur whether they can hold onto it.

One of the more essential decisions will be hiring employees. Take the time, and don’t fill a position until you’re confident you’ve found the right fit. It might be a little stressful wearing dozens of hats for your own company for a week or two, but it’s better than trying to train someone who doesn’t fit your corporate culture for the next six months.

After employees, you’ll probably have to deal with logistics. Do you need a bigger office space, or can you cram a few more employees into your current one without running out of personal space? Every decision matters, so seek out peers, experts, and mentors for their advice. When you’re successful, it’s easy to think you know everything. But being humble and asking for help is the sign of a true professional.

Get Your Paperwork in Order

Hopefully you spent December figuring out your businesses finances for the end of the year! Either way, it’s already 2014, so time to look ahead. If you have employees on payroll, prepping completed W-2’s should be your top priority. If you hired contractors in 2013, then you’ll need to add 1099-MISC tax forms to your to-do list as well. They both have to be mailed out by January 31st.

This is also a good time to schedule a meeting with your accountant. Everyone will be doing it in March & April. Give him or her a break and talk to them today!

Your January Tasks as a Business Owner

Looking for a summary? Here’s your quick checklist for January:

  1. Set up your annual goals
  2. Create a plan to scale smartly this year
  3. Get a head-start on your taxes (and mail things out by January 31st if you need to!)

This guest post was written by Flynn Zaiger in association with Hibernia Bank. The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of any financial institution or bank. This article is intended to provide those reading it with information about matters of current interest. It should not be construed as legal or financial advice concerning a specific topic and should not be acted upon without contacting the appropriate professionals.