Small Business Financial Planning Guide for The New Year: 2019 Version

November 2018

The start of a new year can mean business as usual or it can mark the next step towards successfully growing your business. To achieve positive change, take some time to make realistic goals before plunging into 2019 – and map out an action plan that breaks each goal into the specific steps that you will take to accomplish it. The idea is to create a workable, clear roadmap to your desired future, rather than a simple list of grandiose goals that you’ll forget about in a few weeks. Then, check in with yourself often and evaluate where you are – do you need to drive faster, change direction or simply keep on going?

Goal-setting for your business is more than just figuring out how much you want to increase revenues next year. The checklist below provides pointers to issues you may want to consider when planning your business goals for 2019.

1: Review tax changes

There are critical changes in the tax laws for small businesses for the next filing period. Figuring out how to make the most of new deductions is a complex process. We suggest you make an appointment with a trusted financial professional to review the new 20% deduction on qualified business income for small business owners, so you can understand if you’re entitled to the full deduction. Ask about the new rules for client/customer entertainment deductions too, and make sure to ask the advisor if there’s anything else that you need to know specific to your business.

2: Evaluate your new tax savings

Many small businesses will see a reduction in their taxes with the new rule changes in the upcoming filing period. Determine what tax savings you can now claim, and then plan how to best utilize the new cash flow to build your business.

3: Review 2018 financial goals

Small business owners tend to start a new year by setting new revenue goals, and checking progress on those goals each financial quarter. If you’re just getting started in business, consider adopting this process. If you’re already tracking your revenue goals, now’s the time to look at your year-end financial reporting to determine whether you are on track to meet your goals. If not, figure out what went wrong and how to better meet any ongoing challenges.

4: Review your website and social media

Are your social efforts producing anything more than “likes”? Content that doesn’t convert to sales is a waste of time and effort. Consider how you can build on your most successful content, and/or rework your social posts and web content to drive sales.

5: Audit your security processes

A data breach can cost you big in lost sales, reputation and trust. You may even lose the ability to process payment cards, if you aren’t compliant with PCI security guidelines. Review your security processes, check that any payment processors and gateways you utilize are PCI compliant, and update system and applications as needed to help ensure cybercriminals can’t access your data.

6: Review your data backup plan

You should be backing up all critical data to three locations: a local drive, a second local drive and a remote drive (typically a cloud service). It’s easier if you automate backups so you don’t have to think about it. Determine your backup needs based on the data that is vital to your business – if you can’t afford to lose it, back it up.

7: Review (or create) a business continuity plan

If you can’t physically gain access your business premises due to severe weather, a natural disaster or other complication – how will you keep your company functioning? Do your employees know what to do in case of an emergency, how to check in, how to access files and work securely from home? What if your business location is physically destroyed by a fire/hurricane/earthquake or other disaster? Consider the possibilities that are likely in your location, and figure out what you’ll do to keep your business up and running in each scenario.

8: Determine working capital needs

When you establish your revenue goals for the next 12 months, expansion needs should be part of your planning. Could new computers, expanded inventory, a bigger space, a new hire etc. open profitable new revenue streams? If you need to access funding to build your business, or meet existing obligations, One Park Financial can help. Call us at 1-888-327-6909 or visit today and take a few minutes to fill in our pre-qualification form.