A January Checklist for Small Business Owners & Nonprofit Leaders
10 Essential Tips for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
After the holidays, I know it feels overwhelming to start thinking again about all those vast To Do lists for strategic planning. But, as we embark on a new year, it’s crucial for business owners and nonprofit leaders to set the stage for success in 2024 with a small amount of planning and focus.
By taking a few hours a week to set your focus on financial planning or personal well-being, you will ensure your organization thrives in the coming months, and you set the stage for a successful and, hopefully, more balanced year ahead.
1. Make or Update Your Business’ Financial Plan:
Now is the perfect time to reassess your financial goals and strategies. Consider updating your budget, forecasting revenue, and identifying areas for cost savings. A well-thought-out financial plan is the cornerstone of a successful business. Tip: Try an affordable software like LivePlan.
2. Check-In on Business HSA, Health, and Retirement Accounts:
Show yourself or your employees that financial well-being matters by ensuring the organization’s health and retirement benefits are in order. Schedule a meeting to discuss any changes in plans, ask questions, and address concerns with your providers. If you have staff, send an email explaining how they reach out for help and whom to contact with questions or need support setting up their plans.
3. Update Your Website to Showcase Last Year’s Successes:
As Ferris Beuller said, “Life moves pretty fast,” and that makes it hard to keep an updated website when there are so many other things coming at you. Your latest portfolio samples are a powerful tool for attracting customers and investors. Take the time to highlight your achievements from the previous year, showcasing milestones, testimonials, and any awards or recognition received. Tip: Don’t forget your LinkedIn profile updates too.
4. Prep Your 1099s Early for Timely Arrival:
Avoid the end-of-month rush by preparing and distributing 1099s ahead of schedule. You not only ensure compliance with tax regulations but also demonstrate professionalism and caring for your contractors’ needs.
5. Review and Adjust Your Marketing Plan for New Trends:
Stay ahead of the curve by examining your current marketing strategy or starting over with a new approach for the new year. Identify emerging trends in your industry and social media. Yes, you may need to adjust your plan as you see new opportunities emerge, but a 12-month outlook can really help keep you on track during busy months.
6. Set an Appointment with Your Tax Advisor for Comprehensive Planning:
Take a proactive approach to tax season by scheduling an appointment with your tax advisor now. Tip: Go a step further and book a session for Q4 planning in September so you can strategically navigate the year-end tax burden and make adjustments accordingly.
7. Update Your Calendar with Holidays, Big Events, and Tax Deadlines:
Streamline your scheduling by incorporating important dates into your and your company-wide calendar. Be sure to include holidays, planned days off for you or your team, conferences and conventions, and crucial tax deadlines. Being organized ensures everyone is on the same page and reduces the risk of last-minute scrambling. Tip: Most calendar programs have national holidays available for your Google or iOS calendar.
8. Plan a Session on What Worked and What Didn’t in 2023:
Failure is a natural part of doing business. While drilling down into those mistakes and examining how they happened, you should also reflect on the successes and how to duplicate them. Analyze key performance indicators, customer feedback, and any deviations you took from your business plan, good or bad. Gather the data, get feedback from your team, review feedback forms, and then refine your strategies for 2024.
9. Plan for Personal Success with Scheduled Vacations and Self-Care:
Success is not just about work. It also means you need to be focused on personal well-being. Instead of hoping for this to just happen in your busy schedule, block out time for vacations, doctors’ appointments, and self-care like massages, happy hours, or visits to family. A healthy, rejuvenated leader is better equipped to guide a thriving organization.
10. Stay Ahead by Planning for the Unexpected:
Flexibility is paramount in today’s dynamic business environment. The pandemic years taught us all this valuable lesson. However, leaders need to focus on contingencies for economic and industry shifts before they happen. But don’t bog yourself down in huge, weighty documents. Instead, consider creating short 1-pager plans for potential disruptions, whether they be economic downturns, supply chain challenges, or unforeseen events.
The idea of “new year, new you” being pushed on us can be really frustrating for most business owners. We have so little time to focus on the now it is hard to take a break to plan for 12 months from now.
Instead of trying to reinvent yourself or your business, give yourself small goals to achieve instead of diving into this list head-on. Take one goal a day or even a week to ensure you achieve them all. And don’t worry: you got this!
Jamie Rose is a co-founder and COO of Momenta Creative. We nicknamed Jamie the “Fun Machine” at the office because of her infectious laugh and unending energy. Don’t let the joyful exterior fool you. Her sharp approach to communications is what landed her previous positions with companies like The New York Times and The Global Fund and makes her strategic communications and campaign planning skills indispensable to our clients today.