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Is your small business prepared for the end of the year?

inventory management systems   It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are quickly approaching. As a business owner, chances are you are already preparing holiday campaigns and beginning to plan for next year. As you’ve likely discovered, these additional tasks, combined with year-end deadlines, can make October, November, and December a stressful time for small business owners. Below are four tips to help finish this year productively and begin a successful new year. Review Your Goals During the final months of the year, take the time to reflect on your business and how it has progressed. Your business isn’t necessarily going to be where you imagined by the end of the year but ask yourself, “Was this year successful?” If yes, evaluate what helped you achieve your goals. If no, determine what held your business back. Those are the issues you need to address moving forward into the new year. Refresh Your Business Use this time to review documents, handbooks, and marketing collateral to ensure accuracy and relevancy. When reviewing, don’t neglect your digital assets. According to an AT&T Small Business Technology Poll from 2013, “67% of businesses are using their website to market to customers.” In order to make your website a more efficient marketing tool, use the end of the year to assess and determine if any revisions need to be made. Incorporating updated images, adding videos, and refreshing content can make your website a better marketing asset. Additionally, keep track of where you need to change the copyright date, so it can be easily changed when the New Year arrives. Leaving the copyright date unchanged makes your website outdated. Begin Forecasting We’ve mentioned the importance of reviewing the year and determining if you were able to sufficiently meet your goals. It’s equally important to keep in mind the overall picture. Once you’ve determined how well your company accomplished yearly goals, you can determine what changes need to be made moving forward next year and for the next five years. After setting next year’s goals, make sure you monitor them closely and make necessary adjustments. If you don’t, you could end up in a situation where your goals are being met but not in an ideal manner. For example,Ken O’Brien, the former New York Jets quarterback, had a tendency to throw interceptions early in his career. His obvious goal was to stop throwing to the other team,; he received a contract that penalized him financially every time he threw an interception. O’Vrien ended up throwing fewer interceptions…because he threw fewer balls overall. Clearly the established goal wasn’t being accomplished in the best possible way. You want goals that help your business advance successfully. Conduct an Inventory Audit Small business owners are responsible for continuously managing inventory. The end of the year is the perfect time to verify that what you have in stock and physically present in the warehouse what is actually reflected in your records. Inventory discrepancies usually occur from receiving errors, breakage, and theft. Take the time to note any obsolete or damaged inventory and reduce its valuation. It’s important to correct the numbers to avoid having errors accumulate over time. Unaddressed errors in a company’s books can lead to your business being audited, as well as, unexpected out-of-stock conditions. An inventory management solution will help manage your inventory throughout the year instead of having to worry about it at the end of the year. Make a point to go through these preparation tips to ensure a smooth transition from this year’s end and next year’s beginning.