3 Must-Haves for a Successful Business in 2018

2018 is right around the corner, is your business ready for the New Year? With our shop opening in February of 2017, this was our first (almost complete) business year and it feels a little like we are one step behind all the time. It’s definitely been a year of learning for us and next year I want to be set up for total success for 2018. Success starts with a plan. Here are the three things we are focusing on completing before the year begins. 

You must have your finances in order

Do you remember when I told you I went to school for science? I took one accounting class and thought, “Why would I need this class?” I didn’t pay attention and barely skid by. I’m wishing I paid attention now! If you made a good profit during 2017 and you feel like your taxes are all kinds of messed up, consider hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).  

Hopefully you’ve spent some time tracking your miles, saving your receipts, and categorizing your expenses. If not, now is the time to do it! It’s much easier to have this nitty gritty stuff done before the new year comes along with a whole new tax season. 

For this first year, we used Quick Books Self-Employed to track our mileage and expenses. We’ve outgrown it at this point but I thought it was a great resource because I could track everything right on my phone. You can also take pictures of your receipts and upload them right away. This is perfect if you’re a “contract employee” but I highly recommend the Quick Books Small Business instead. That was mistake number one for us this year.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post, just a real life product I used to help me while we learned and grew this year. 

If you actually are considering hiring a CPA but aren’t sure if you want to follow through (since you do have to pay them, after all!) consider the following benefits of having them on your side:

Reduces your risk of the IRS auditing you

I don’t know about you but I actually never want the IRS to knock on my door. I am absolutely not a tax expert and if they have questions about how I filed my business taxes, I’m not sure if I could answer them properly.  If they do choose to audit my business in the future, I would love someone on my side that put my finances in order and can answer questions as to how the taxes were filed. 

May Save You Some Money 

As scary as the IRS may seem, they have so many incentives in place for the small business owner – tax law actually favors the entrepreneur and investor! The list of incentives is long and it’s quite possible to forget one or miss it altogether. A CPA can run through your taxes with a fine tooth comb and figure out where you can save a dollar or two. As an entrepreneur, we need all the pennies we can get. 🙂 

Reduces Stress (Hopefully)

If a CPA can file your taxes correctly and save you some money along the way, I imagine your stress level may decrease just a bit. Yes, you do have to pay your CPA but it’s a great investment in the long-term health of your small business.

You must make a plan and stick to it

If you’re in the beginning stages of your business or you moved through a whole year without this, it’s time to get this done. We all have a checklist of the things we hope to accomplish. It’s time to start checking those things off. If you haven’t already done this, creating a business plan should be at the very top of your list. Having a complete business plan to follow through 2018 can vastly grow your business. 

Although a very detailed business plan with analyzed strategies is best for the health of your business, I understand that it’s holiday season and growing your business has probably been placed on the back burner. Don’t keep it there, though, if you want your holiday gift to be a successful business. Here is a super easy one sheet business plan to get your started. Don’t let these things get ahead of you, start fresh in the new year. 

Get yourself a planner, whether it’s a physical planner or an online one, keep yourself on track for success.

You must set smart goals

How will you know if 2018 is a major success or complete failure? There are two obvious ways to figure this out – either you made money or you accomplished your goals. 

Making money in business is a fantastic but you’ll be much more likely to push yourself in the new year if you are aiming toward your goals. I’m sure you’ve heard about SMART goals time and time again but their connection with a successful business cannot be emphasized enough. 

What is a smart goal? 

Specific (simple, sensible, significant) 
Measurable (meaningful, motivating) 
Achievable (attainable) 
Relevant (reasonable, realistic, results-based) 
Timely (Time-based, time-sensitive) 

For this portion of your new year, I want you to think big and start small. Create a cringe-worthy goal and smaller objectives to accomplish that goal. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set a solid roadmap. 

Be sure to keep your goals aligned with your business mission as you create them. In this way, you’ll stay true to your brand.

When we think about goals, we often have a profit number in mind. I love these goals because they are often the easiest to measure.

Alongside these, be sure to consider goals in development and innovation. Gain a new skill this year, maybe dabble in graphic design or social media scheduling. Really hone in to bring your business to a new level.

Take a look at what your business has to offer and establish a goal to improve your products and services. The possibilities really are endless so don’t just play the numbers game. 

Here is a free, simple weekly goal planner to help keep you on track. Because I believe in you, boss babe. 🙂

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