The end of the year is always a busy time with wrapping up projects and presents and attending holiday parties, but before you clink the Champagne glasses to usher in a fresh start, make sure to carve out some time to celebrate this year’s wins and learn from its losses. Consider this year-end checklist for small businesses as you review the past 12 months.

Evaluate Your Overall Achievements

Start your end of year review on a high note: Make a list of your business triumphs and take a moment to evaluate what went into each win. Maybe you’re proud of landing a big client, your team nailed it on an important project or you took an expansion risk that paid off. Delve deep into how you and your team met each accomplishment. Then develop strategies to advance those successes and achieve new ones. Figure out what didn’t work as well, and why. Nix those approaches in the future. Don’t let your business keep running into the same walls.

Get a Picture of Your Financial Fitness

Reviewing a profit and loss statement will help you gauge your overall financial situation. But take a closer look at your cash flow by month or quarter. Assess which times of the year you either didn’t hit or just barely reached your goals, as well as which times you exceeded your targets. Are there any ways to apply financial-gain strategies to the periods that lagged?

Evaluate Your Marketing Strategies

Review your website and determine if it needs a refresh or an overhaul. If it does, schedule it as soon as possible. Don’t let another quarter go by with that task getting shuffled around on your to-do list. Take stock of all of your marketing strategies. Do you need better efforts on social media, more consistent email newsletters or blogs, or growth when it comes to subscribers or followers? Make plans to strategize. Likewise, if you’re dominating in certain marketing areas, figure out how to build on those.

Consider Your Customers

You’ve likely had interest from clients who didn’t take you up on your services. Reach out to anyone you’ve given estimates to or received inquiries from and see if they’re still in need. Reach out to clients whom you did work with this year and thank them for their business. The courtesy goes a long way, and you never know if they’ve been meaning to get in touch with you for another project. Evaluate your ongoing client list and determine if there’s an account that’s a drain on resources and time, rather than a boon for your business. Maybe it’s time to say goodbye to that client so you can move on to work that’s more rewarding — both emotionally and financially.

Examine Your Team

If you have employees or subcontractors, be sure to include them as part of your business year in review. Offer them feedback and gratitude; ask for their input on any processes or projects; and get their ideas for improvements in the new year. Decide whether you need to make additional hires to accommodate growth.

Review General Housekeeping

Take a look at all the workflow processes you have in place and ask yourself these end-of-year review questions to hone in on areas that need improvement: Do you need a better task-management app or a more fluid way of team communication? Is your office space still working for you? Can you identify areas where you can cut overhead costs?

We Can Help

Your small business is a labor of love. Keep it protected — review your business insurance and make sure you’ve got the right coverage to protect against uncertainties. Contact your Farm Bureau agent for a SuperCheck® on your coverage, and dive into the new year with confidence.

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.