The end of 2009 is approaching very quickly. If you are like most small business owners, you have started to create or already created a plan for 2010. Here are few suggestions on how to best finish out 2009 in order to start 2010 a step ahead of your competition.
Taxes are Coming! Does the thought of dealing with the IRS overwhelm you? If you are like a lot of small business owners, the answer is a resounding YES. Below are a few steps you can follow to make you feel you are in control of the process:
INVOICES – Make Sure All Invoices have been Sent
TRANSACTIIONS – Have you recorded all of your transactions including:
- Credit Card Charges
- Cash, Check or Debit Payments
- eBay, PayPal Receipts and Payments
BANK ACCOUNTS– Reconcile Your Bank Accounts even if you utilize Online banking, this is a good time of year review your accounts. Be sure to check bank fees and records, banks aren’t always as accurate as you might hope.
MILEAGE- Can you deduct Mileage? You need to know the answer to this question. In most cases, you can deduct $0.55 per mile for trips to clients or meetings. A daily commute doesn’t qualify but, for a lot of people, this deduction can add up.
EXPENSES – Make Sure all Expenses and/or Income is categorizes is important. Taking the time to categorize Expenses, in particular, can make a distinctive difference in your allowable deductions. If you have questions about how to categorize an Expense so it can be used as a deductible expense on your Schedule C, ask a professional or hire a bookkeeper.
W-9’s – Be sure to obtain all W-9 information for any contractor’s you’ve paid in 2009. 1099’s are due January 31st.
PROFIT AND LOSS – Review, Review and Review. Make sure everything is recorded accurately. Try to remember all of the details and make sure they are included. Do you have receipts in your car? Did you have a friend do some consulting for you business? What about a services swap? All of these need to be included. Again, ask a professional or hire a bookkeeper to answer any questions about what needs to be included.
ESTIMATED TAXES – Make sure your 4th Quarter (and, if necessary, all other quarters) payment is submitted by January 15th. The IRS expects that your 4th quarter payment will bring you current with at least 90% of your taxes due for the year.
BUDGET– Create a realistic budget based on 2009’s actual numbers and your goals for 2010.
What about growing your business in 2010? Do you have a marketing plan in place for next year? What about finishing up 2009? Here are a few simple Online Marketing Tools to increase your visibility:\
SOCIAL MEDIA NAME/PROFILE - Reserve your chosen Social Media Name/Profile on the most popular sites. Even if you are not utilizing social media at this time, it is a good idea to create a basic profile on each of the most popular sites. You can check your name availability at: http://knowem.com/
- Twitter – http://twitter.com
- Facebook – http://Facebook.com
- YouTube – http://YouTube.com
- Delicious – http://delicious.com
- Digg – http://Digg.com
LISTED – Make sure you are listed on:
- Yahoo Directory – http://dir.yahoo.com/
- Open Directory – http://www.dmoz.org/
- Business.com – http://www.business.com/
- Best of the Web – http://botw.org/
GOOGLE ALERTS – Setup Google Alerts to manage your online reputation. http://www.google.com/alerts/
MAP LISTINGS – Claim your Map Listing –
- Google: http://maps.google.com/ – If you aren’t listed, setup a listing at: https://www.google.com/accounts/
- Yahoo: http://local.yahoo.com/ – If you aren’t listed, setup a listing at: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
- Bing: http://www.bing.com/maps/ – If you aren’t listed, setup a listing at: https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx
WEBSITE/BLOG – Clean Up any Broken Links on your own website or blog
Obviously, these are not comprehensive lists but I hope I’ve provided a good beginning to start you on the process of growing your business in 2010.