7 easy ways to get ready for year-end

By Samantha Garner | November 28, 2015

Note: This post was first published on December 21, 2013, but this information is always timely, so we refreshed some dates and links in post on November 28, 2015.


small-business-year-endThe holidays are nearly here, and you’re probably busy making plans for holiday parties and delicious meals. But it’s important to make plans for your year-end. It won’t be long until we’re ringing in the new year – what shape will your small business be in?

Here are some simple things you can do to get everything in order for your year-end.

7 ways to prepare your business for year-end

Winter can be a slow time for many businesses, especially at the end of the year. But, by taking this downtime to prepare your business for what lies ahead, you’ll start the new year refreshed, prepared and ready for anything.

1. Update your payroll records, report all current-year paycheques on T4 slips, and make sure all your other deductions are in order – when you see your accountant or bookkeeper in January, they’ll appreciate how much easier their job will be.

2. Organize your accounting files, records and receipts to get ready for income tax season. This includes completing inventory records and putting expense receipts into categories by month.

3. Review your next-year business goals. What worked well and what didn’t? What lessons did you learn? What did your competition do? (Check out our free competitive matrix to see how you measured up to the competition.) Next year, do more of what worked, and less of what didn’t. Simple.

4. Develop a strategic plan – a roadmap for getting from point A to point B. If you don’t have one, we’ve got a free one-page business plan template at our website to get you on the right track.

5. Scrutinize your marketing, human resources management, financing and operations. There’s always room for improvement, so brainstorm some ideas to become more effective.

6. Bone up on how social media can help promote your business. Read some business blogs (such as this one) or follow some of your business idols on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Learn from the pros – and from the social media gaffes.

7. Delete old or duplicate files, get rid of email spam, back up your business records onto a memory stick or in the cloud. You can also hire a company to do this for you on a regular basis.

There you have it – seven ways to prepare for your small business’ year-end that can easily fit in around your holiday activities. Have fun with it, and pat yourself on the back for your year in entrepreneurship!


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7 questions to help you define your brand experience

By Samantha Garner | November 21, 2015

how-to-define-brand-experienceA small business’ brand experience is strategically developed to encourage customers to think of you, and persuade people to interact with your brand. However, you want this experience to be a good one, right?

Ask yourself these seven questions to make sure you’re delivering the best brand experience to your customers.

  • What promise are you making to your customers?
  • Are you working hard to meet the needs and desires of customers?
  • How are you increasing customer satisfaction?
  • Is your customer’s experience consistently positive?
  • Do you keep up with customers’ needs and wants, as well as meet new and emerging ones?
  • What kind of experience do you want your customers to have with your small business?
  • If you were a customer of your business, how would you expect to be treated?

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | November 14, 2015

Here are some great articles and blog posts we thought you might enjoy, from productivity to pets.

Let us know what you think!


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What do you do if you make a mistake with your taxes?

By Samantha Garner | November 7, 2015

money_saving_tipsFiling your small business’ taxes with the CRA is something all entrepreneurs worry about doing on time and correctly. But what do you do if you make an honest mistake with your taxes? What if you forgot to include something, didn’t know something was taxable, or made an incorrect entry?

The good news is you can make a voluntary disclosure of your mistake to the CRA and avoid getting in huge trouble. Check out our free resource on what to do if you make a mistake on your taxes – and don’t forget to breathe!



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How small businesses can give back to the community

By Samantha Garner | October 31, 2015

As a small business owner, have you ever considered getting your business involved in charity or volunteer work? If not, it’s a good thing to consider! Businesses, even home-based ones with no storefront, are public faces of the community. Aside from the fact that it’s just good to do, volunteer or charity work will enhance your company’s reputation.

How to be a charitable small business

If you’re interested in donating to a charity on behalf of your small business, look for charities that you can relate to and believe in. There are many different options within every community for charitable donations. You can also sponsor a sports team, a community event, or a community project. You might also consider contributing to recurring opportunities like sponsoring a yearly marathon or providing an annual scholarship for a local college or university.

If you’d rather donate your time than your money, look to your company’s strengths. For example, an accounting firm may help single parents or underprivileged families with filing taxes for a reduced fee.

Or, a construction company may help build a domestic violence centre in your community, or contribute to the latest Habitat for Humanity project.

As a farmer, you may consider donating a portion of your crop to the local food bank.

There are many ways to get involved and help out in your community which will not only make you feel good about yourself but will also help to get your company name out there. Have fun!


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