It’s hard to believe, but we’re already in the fourth quarter and approaching the end of 2021. While it seems the year is passing quickly, there is still time for your small business to prepare for year-end and next year.
It can be helpful to follow a checklist when preparing your business for next year. Crossing off steps when completed helps you maintain momentum and ensures nothing is missed in your year-end preparations.
Read on to learn more about how to prepare your small business for the end of 2021 and the start of 2022.
Small Business Year-End Checklist
Checklists can help you make sure you don’t miss anything, and they can help you organize your thoughts and action items for your small business. Follow these steps to help you in your year-end preparations.
1. Prepare financial documents.
Take time now to gather your important financial documents. Your tax advisor will thank you, and you’ll feel more prepared for the end of the year if you prepare documentation now. Some key financial documents to gather now include your balance sheet and income statement.
2. Review your 2021 goals.
Now is an excellent time to look back on your 2021 goals. What’s left to accomplish before year-end? Note your progress on your goals and what areas remain to focus on next year. Assessing how your business performed against the goals you set is essential for your continued growth — you can’t improve what you don’t measure and track, so be sure to gather critical metrics to help you review your 2021 goals.
3. Meet with employees for a fourth-quarter conversation.
Regardless of when you usually meet with your staff for performance reviews, consider adding a fourth-quarter discussion to go over goals and progress. Is there anything they can finish in 2021 to help the business move forward? These discussions help align employees with overall business needs — so take advantage of this time of year to keep staff motivated to finish the year strong. Employee engagement can slip at the end of the year, so a meeting with you may be what they need to keep focused through the busy holiday season. Employee engagement levels fluctuated wildly through 2020, according to Gallup. Continue to focus on employee wellbeing as we finish 2021 and move into the new year.
4. Evaluate your vendor relationships.
Reviewing your agency’s relationship with its various vendors annually is a best practice. Consider whether the vendor still meets your business’s needs and if they are the most competitively priced option. You may need to renegotiate contracts or resign contracts yearly, so prepare for these conversations in advance. If you have a gap a vendor can fill, now is the time to search for a new vendor to have in place for the start of the new year.
5. Assess your website.
Your website should be dynamic and current, kept up to date throughout the year. But it is a good idea to add a line item to your year-end checklist for a website audit. Check for dead-end links, outdated content, and any typos or errors. Be sure to evaluate your website on your laptop and using your mobile phone — errors on one device may not show up on another. Make notes of any content you’d like to update in the new year, so you can hit the ground running in 2022 with new blog and white paper ideas. Take a look at the popular blogs on the American Agent Alliance site for examples of ways to present content to your customers.
6. Write your 2022 goals.
Spend time assessing and writing your 2022 goals. Whether your organization uses the SMART goal framework with goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, or if you prefer PACT goals — Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous, and Trackable — take time now to set goals and action steps.
7. High level reflection is important.
As a business owner, you’re not only responsible for the daily transactions and bottom line, you’re also in charge of the direction of your business. Take stock of your vision and mission statements at year-end. How are you fulfilling the overall goal of your organization? Are there steps you could take to better align your day-to-day business functions with your agency’s mission? How is your business growing year over year? Corporate social responsibility and ESG are important metrics to consider for your agency.
8. Take inventory of any supplies or stock you have.
While agents and brokers don’t have much product to hold in inventory, you will have supplies – things like paper products, brochures, office supplies, and the like add up. Make sure someone takes inventory of what is already owned and removes outdated stock. Know what you have before you purchase more to save on expenses.
9. Consider hosting an annual meeting.
While it may feel like a formality with a small business, it may be helpful for your business to host an annual meeting. LLCs are not required to have annual meetings unless written in your operating agreement, but holding these meetings regularly can add credibility to your company.
10. Meet with your insurance advisor for a coverage review.
Agents and brokers know this best — take the time to review your insurance coverage. Look for any gaps in your coverage, especially if your insurance needs have changed. If your agency expanded in scope, geographic area, or added employees, you might need more coverage.
Small businesses have many year-end preparation needs — using a year-end checklist like this one is an intelligent way to make sure your business is prepared for 2022.
Small Businesses Benefit From Membership With the American Agents Alliance
As a small business owner, you need advice and guidance geared toward your needs. The American Agents Alliance is a membership organization with resources for agents and brokers, including blogs, preferred market access, and E&O insurance coverage availability.
Become a member today and find out more about how we help small businesses.