Top business planning tips

If this year has thrown your best-laid business plans to the wayside, you're not alone. Now is the time to get things back on track and start setting goals to ensure you can tackle 2021 with confidence. Use these tips-and the help of our financial professionals-to chart your course for year end and the next business year:

1. Foster financial fortitude

Here are some key steps you can take on the financial front before the year's end:

  • Create a cash-flow budget list with fixed versus variable costs. (Fixed costs are those that must be paid to keep your business open, such as rent and utilities.) Take some time now to prioritize your costs and set money aside for those at the top of the list.

  • Consider cuts to unnecessary costs that aren't producing revenue or securing key business functions.

  • Find additional financial sources of revenue with new products or services your customers need, and market them frequently and consistently.

  • Don't go into debt without first reviewing your available savings and other collateral.

2. Stay on top of tax payments

If you're behind on your estimated tax payments, talk to our firm about creating a catch-up plan. Don't wait until tax season is here; talk to us now so you don't fall further behind. Also, don't wait to pay payroll taxes. Payment of these taxes is not extended, and the penalties and interest are significant for non-payment.

3. Be clear about COVID-19 policies

Depending on your location, it's likely your business will have to modify its operations to deal with the impact of COVID-19. This is an important time to clearly define your specific health and safety policies and protocols with your employees and customers. It's also wise to follow federal, state or local government directives and guidance regard­ing the safety of your employees and customers.

4. Maintain your marketing and sales programs

Now is not the time to pull back on marketing. Communicate clearly and consistently with your customers so they know you're open for business. Social media is an easy and cost-effective way to keep your customers up to date. If you typically don't use social media, now would be the perfect time to start.

Another low-cost but effective strategy is imple­menting an email newsletter or series of emails to help customers and address any changes in your business. Also, are there new ways to deliver your service or product? Consider home delivery, mail or virtual web-based services if it fits your busi­ness model.

5. Update your business's strategic plan

If you don't have a strategic plan, now's the time to draft one. If you do have a plan, make sure you take the time to update it based on your current business situation. Add projects that have been on the back burner and re-evaluate your goals and objectives for the year.

With the impact the pandemic has had on busi­nesses, there's no doubt that 2020 will be a year for the history books. These tips can help you make smart moves to better position your busi­ness for 2021. If you're concerned about how your business is faring financially, please reach out to us. As your trusted advisors, we can help get you on track—and keep you there. ■

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