Are you ready for October? The speed at which this year is ending is a bit…spooky…isn’t it? As your business continues through the end of the year, it’s a great time to make sure everything’s on track — and that you are ready for what’s next. September’s checklist should have got you on the right path, and here are some items to check off your list for October:

1. Filed for an Extension? Your Tax Return is Due

If you filed for a tax extension, the time has come to take care of finishing up. Most people file for extensions when they think that they will need a little more time to gather documentation, or to complete a complex tax return. If you needed extra time for your tax return, that time is now up. You have until October 17 to file your tax return.

2. Check Your Internet Security

You don’t want your business computer(s) compromised, nor do you want your web site to be vulnerable. While there is no way to completely protect yourself, you can reduce the chance that your business will be taken down by computer security threats. October is Cyber Security Awareness Month; it’s a great time to review your security measures, and make sure that you business is protected, as much as possible, from cyber threats.

3. Review Your Business Benchmarks

Now is a great time to review your business benchmarks. Consider how close you are to reaching your desired benchmarks. Look at your business goals from earlier in the year, and assess how close you are to reaching them. Are there some things you can do to improve your success rate? Are there tweaks that can be made to your business, or your approach? Carefully consider how far you have come, and realistically examine how far you have to go. If you have made good progress, don’t forget to reward yourself for what you’ve accomplished.

4. Begin a Rough Sketch of Next Year’s Budget

Consider what your business budget is likely to look like next year. It’s a great time to review what worked well this year, and what you can do next year to reduce costs. Cut out items that didn’t provide the return on investment you were hoping for. You can also begin looking for ways to shift costs around so that you have the cash flow you need to hire additional people, if needed, or expand your business. While you don’t need to set your budget in stone right now, it’s a great time to beginning working out broad strokes.

5. Refresh Your Network

You might have let your network become a little bit stale. Take some time this month to reconnect to those in your industry. Drop a line to professional contacts, clients and even social networking contacts. You never know when a renewed connection could lead to something else business related. Keeping your network fresh — even though you might not need something now — is important. No one wants to help you if you only show up when you need something. Casually renew your networking efforts, and you’ll find it was well worth it.