Hopefully, you’ve started the year out right, with a solid plan for your business. Being a successful entrepreneur takes planning, focus and hard work. Having a checklist can help you identify what you need to improve on, as well as provide you with a roadmap that can help you accomplish your objectives as an entrepreneur. Here are some things to consider for February:
1. Get Your Tax Information Together
Now is a good time to organize your tax information. Organize the financial documents related to your business. Any 1099s you have received should arrive by the first week in February (they were supposed to be sent by the end of January). You should realize that corporate tax returns (your Form 1120 and its variations) are due on March 15, rather than April 15. So getting ready in February is a good idea.
2. Consider What Financing You Will Need
Look over your business plan and your needs for the coming year. Do you need new equipment? Are you expanding in a manner that indicates that you will need to hire employees in the coming months. Do you need new office space? If you need any of these things, you might need to consider getting financing. This means proving that you can handle payments. You should have a business plan, and be able to show that you are seeing some measure of success, with some regular income. You should also be able to show a concrete plan for increasing your business revenue.
The current climate is tough for small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking financing. However, there are some options. You can go to your local bank or credit union and ask for a business loan. You might be able to get a SBA loan, backed by the government. It is also possible to look at less traditional funding sources. P2P lending sites Lending Club and Prosper might be able to help you in your efforts to get a loan. Additionally, it is worth noting that microlending giant Kiva has brought its product to the U.S., providing business microlending.
3. Consider Your Web Site
Assess your business web site. Critically consider its functionality and design. Go through pages of your web site in a test drive, looking for problems and inconsistencies. Consider load times for your site, font size, overall look of the site, and ease of navigation. Once you have taken care of some of the bigger problems, have someone you trust to give you an honest opinion, and who might not be too familiar with your site, take it for a test drive. Watch as this person navigates the site, and then get some feedback. It might be time for a web site re-design — or at least an upgrade.
4. Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles
If you have social media profiles for your business, you should check through them. Look for inconsistencies, and make sure that your logo, business name and other information are similar in each profile. You should consider abandoning some profiles if they don’t make sense for your business and what it is trying to accomplish. Target social media profiles that allow you to interact with peers and clients in a meaningful and applicable way. Those are the profiles to spruce up and concentrate on as work to grow your online community.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.