Experts Weigh In: End of the Year Business Tips for 2013

End of the Year Business Tips for 2013Here at MyCorporation, we’re busy prepping for the end of the year and looking forward to what 2014 will bring for small businesses and entrepreneurs. But while our prep involves helping to file delayed filings or incorporating or forming LLCs for small businesses, we’re curious to see how other companies are closing out 2013. Today, we have 24 small business professionals giving us a look at what they’re working on for their brands and their biggest business tips on how to close out the end of the year!

1. “Make a resolution to focus on one social media platform. Social media is not going away and it’s time for small business to step up.”

- Lisa McTigue, Social Media Expert, LisaMcTigue.com

2. “We are making sure all inventory is in stock and organized, all marketing materials ready to go and short lead press releases being sent to appropriate parties. We look forward to a successful holiday season!”

- Sally Goodgold, Founder, WarmTradition.com

3. “At year end, I always check in with everyone who was interested to hire us during the year but didn’t. Many times companies find “use it or lose it funds” on the books at the end of the year and if you hit the timing right, they may just reopen the conversation where you left off before and have you invoice them in December to get the found money off the books. Then you can start the new year strong with motivated clients who will return your calls fast since they have already paid you!”

- Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder and CEO, Mavens & Moguls

4. “Owners with lots of income in 2013 (in the higher tax bracket) should try to pull in expenses from 2014 by negotiating a discount from their vendors – get the discount AND the tax savings. Put it on a short term cheap line of credit or 0% teaser credit card. If you have a low income and tax bracket in 2013, business owners should try to pull in revenue by offering a deal to their customers to pay next year early and their customers get the tax savings. Don’t just ask though, educate them.”

- Craig Hohnberger, Senior Partner, ActionCOACH.com

5. “What are your marketing plans for next year? How about personal development plans? In what areas are you or your business deficient in, and what will you do to gain those skills or excel in those areas? My top performing clients have almost all already made big plans for 2014. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants, pilot the airplane!”

- Noah Fleming, President, Fleming Consulting & Co.

6. “Be like David Letterman. Make a top 10 list for your business. Top 10 Things You Did Right, and Top 10 That Failed. Do it quickly and rattle off the answers. You will be surprised how quickly this reviews your business from the year and culls out what you do not want to carry into the next year.”

- Sara Daly, President, Waterfalls Day Spa

7. “My tip is to cut excess expenses now in Q4 to clean your finances for 2014. Look at space, telecom, supplies, utilities, printing, catering, subscriptions – cut your excess costs now to boost your bottom line.”

- Donna Thompson, PhD., Expert Profit Solutions

8. “For some outdoor industry businesses the winter months are the slow season where the rush of the season gives way to the slower pace of the off season. For other merchants, Thanksgiving through Christmas is the cash cow and then it’s over! For both
kinds of businesses I strongly caution against “resting” too much after the season ends. It is tempting to say “I have earned a few weeks of down time” but don’t let it drag on too long. Use this slow time to plan your strategy for the upcoming year. It is said that battles are won in the preparation and when it comes to business a successful year fully depends upon the efforts we are willing to make during our off seasons.”

- John Olson, CEO, GrayStone Creations

9. “Take advantage of the sales momentum in the market. Whether or not you think your business has some degree of seasonality, nearly all businesses are affected by the end of the year sales boom. Consumer are in a holiday shopping mood and more open to opening their pocketbooks – as a result, its imperative for a business take advantage of this consumer optimism. Whether or not a business has a holiday specific sales drive, any company must somehow find a way to join the fray. Whether this means simply decorating for holidays, posting seasonal messages via social media, or running a holiday specific sales drive, complete with special promotions, there are always ways to join the trend.”

- Greg Stallkamp, CEO, Lakeshore Express

10. “An interesting subject as we start the 4th Quarter might be a discussion about the conversation financial advisers and/or business owners should be having with CPA’s and other tax advisers about how they can help their small business owner and affluent clients minimize and/or eliminate taxes. As more and more small business owners and affluent clients turn to and trust their CPA for financial decisions, it’s becoming critical that financial advisers help the CPA address these issues. It’s in the clients’ best interest that their adviser help them with these critical issues, and if the tax adviser is not well-versed or experienced in anything besides their core services of tax prep or financial statements, the client loses out.”

- Kevin Stockton, Legacy Financial

11. “Go paperless. At the end of the year last year we implemented a document management system. It has vastly improved our ability to file and retrieve our reams of legal documents, invoices, and bids!”

- Josh Kattenberg, Owner, RPM Express

12. “Make sure your marketing efforts are showing a return on investment. Tracking leads, sales, and developments from all marketing efforts will help these small businesses understand which approaches are working and which are not. This will also help them plan for the coming year and strategize according to the results and ROI they have seen for this past year, all providing invaluable knowledge on the path towards growth.”

- Mark Hemmeter, President and Founder, Office Evolution

13. “My favorite year end tip is for new business start-ups. Small businesses often ‘forget’ that any expenses that are incurred before the first sale are called ‘start-up costs.’ These costs cannot be deducted until the business has their first sale. Then they are deducted over 15 years and you can elect to deduct the first $5,000 in the first year of business. Careful tax planning is needed in this area and many times it is in the taxpayers best interest to start the business sooner than later (in 2013). Many small businesses assume they can deduct all of their costs in starting a new business. Then costs are deductible based on the tax laws for that deduction.”

- Gail Rosen, CPA, Gail Rosen, CPA

14. “From a general perspective, I think many businesses make the mistake of winding down/almost writing off the month of December as a ‘slow month.’ We pointedly make an extra effort and treat December just like any other month. In the same vein, we have our business ‘New Year Resolutions’ session at the beginning of Q4 (October) and start executing immediately. Thinking about new initiatives in January usually means that most of Q1 has passed by before there is any traction.”

- Paul Sheng, CEO, FoundHere.com

15. “Make sure you’re spending your time not only cultivating dollars, but relationships. Don’t stay isolated in social media and stagnant in your clientele. Get out, mingle, meet other local business owners and start the process. Don’t wait till you need someone to want to return your phone call.”

- The Bizzy Biz

16. “Say ‘thank you’ to your community and network! Authentically staying in touch with your community can be difficult. Write a ‘Year in Review’ post or email to your community to share the progress you have made this year. This will let your clients see more from ‘behind the curtain’ and engage them a bit more than a typical blog post might. Also, highlight some of your client’s successes and publicly congratulate them. For your business network, write a more personal, semi-individual email that includes one custom paragraph about the person to whom you are writing and what they’ve accomplished this year. In the body of the email thank them for their support and share some of the progress you have made this year.”

- Beena Kavalam, Founder and CEO, Personal Revolution Coaching

17. “My best tip for other small business owners is to focus and work on the business, rather than working in the business. Let employees do the day to day tasks, the business owner is the visionary who should guide the strategic decisions.”

- Dave Handmaker, Founder, NextDayFlyers

18. “Out with the old, in with the new, right? Our end of the year tip is all about overhaul. This is the year that my company, Accessibility Partners, freshens up our online presence with a newly redone website and improved social media presence. Take out stale web content and replace it with cutting edge material. Even if you just rephrase your service offerings and biographies, a new spin can entice your clients, both preexisting and future.”

- Dana Marlowe, Principal Partner, Accessibility Partners

19. “My best tip for small business owners is to do everything with excellence. Be the best business owner you can be by providing exceptional customer service. This will help you transition from a small business owner to a business owner.”

- Harrine Freeman, CEO, H.E. Freeman Enterprises

20. “I think the end of the year is a good time to start fresh with new goals and business tasks, such as re-creating your website if needed and reaching out to new contacts that you’ve been meaning to get in touch with to form new meaningful business relationships. Think of New Year’s Resolutions that you can complete now so that your business can be more successful in 2014. That way when January rolls around you can watch your business soar to new heights!”

- Kelly Hadous, President, Win The Room

21. “As the year end approaches, we use this time to review our prior year results and begin planning for the upcoming year. Our goal is to hit the ground running come January 1st using the strategic planning we had developed over the prior few months. Waiting until the new year to implement new ideas leaves us behind the curve.”

- Jeremy Schaedler, Principal, California Contractor Bonds

22. “Year end is a series of looking at the year in review, by month, by promotions, by sales, by expenses, and by goals. It’s the time to set monthly goals, expenses and budgets, sales, and promotions for next year.”

- Haralee Weintraub, CEO, Haralee.com

23. “Start making your New Year’s resolutions for the New Year at the beginning of the 4th quarter the prior year. It’ll give you more time to think them through AND you’ll have some time to start prepping for them. The extra time will make you more committed to carrying them out!”

- Jonathan Bechtel, CEO, Health Kismet

24. “Have a good vision statement prepared. A vision statement will serve as a list of goals you want your company to meet in the coming months and years. At the end of the year, see if you can check some items off. If not, you know what you’ll be working on when the New Year rolls around.”

- Ian Aronovich, Co-Founder and CEO, GovernmentAuctions.org

Need a little extra last minute help with your business? Leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!

About Deborah Sweeney

is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.

One thought on “Experts Weigh In: End of the Year Business Tips for 2013

  1. Great stuff, Deborah. It should be our goal as business owners to pay more taxes every year (but at the lowest rate we possibly can). If we are paying more in taxes it means we are making more income.

    Craig Hohnberger