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With every new year, the time comes once again to prepare your business for the best shot at reaching your objectives for the coming year. Of course, that first requires knowing what those objectives are. What does success look like for your business in the year ahead?


Let setting those goals, then, be the first item on a crucial and invaluable checklist you start today of items to attend to, to make next year your business’s best, most successful year yet. Here are the other critical things for that list:


1. Check your credit profiles.


Check both your business and personal credit profiles. There are three bureaus to check with for each type of credit profile, business and personal. For your business credit profile, those are Equifax, Experian, and Dunn & Bradstreet. For your credit profile, those are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. 


Be sure to check with all six bureaus once each year, as each one may contain different information, all of which pertains to you and your business. 


 When checking these profiles, you are reviewing, primarily, for two things:


  1. Accuracy: You may find errors in your reports, and, if you do, you should dispute them, prove your case, if necessary, and get those items removed from the given report.
  2. Negatives to Fix:  Next, you should identify any negative items in your reports and set out a plan to fix them. That may be attempting to negotiate a more reasonable payment plan with those particular creditors. It may be consolidating multiple outstanding debts under one more practical and realistic debt.


2. Tighten Your Digital Security


Technology is always advancing, and, as it does, your attention to digital security needs to keep up. Fortunately, there is at least one step you can take every year to tighten your online security, no matter what progress may bring. Change all your passwords, and make sure to use a different password for every password-protected site or resource. Otherwise, a hack into one site or source can grant a hacker access to all your secure accounts. 


3. Research Relevant Trends


Every industry moves according to trends both unique to itself and general to the broader market. As you prepare for a successful year ahead for your business, you must apprise yourself of the latest trends that will be affecting your business and the general marketplace in the year to come. This way, you can get on top of those trends and be ahead of the curve, already set up for the new landscape to which others in your industry will be scrambling to adapt. 


4. Focus on the Now


Planning is essential, yes, but work on what’s in front of you. To progress along the path you outline for yourself, you must take the next step from where you’re currently standing to complete the new product you’re developing or shoot your next ad campaign. Planning helps you set your course, but it’s the actual doing of the day-to-day tasks before you that moves you along it.


Another way to think of this concept of focusing on the now and not the picture ten steps ahead is to avail yourself only of the resources you need in this moment, not the next. Hire only the staff you need to hire now, not the team you think you’ll need when you meet your next growth objective. You’ll have all the time, and, more importantly, money, you need to do that when you get there. Don’t rent out a space that’s larger than you need right now either, and don’t buy an area rather than lease one before you’re confident your business is where you want it to be, both physically and financially. 


5. Optimize Operations


Looking back on that year that was and looking ahead at the year to come is the perfect time to ask yourself how you can better use your current resources. If not a penny more came through your door, how could you still improve, grow, and build your company? Can you redesign your technology infrastructure, for example, to be more efficient? Can you renegotiate contracts with vendors or find new, more affordable ones?


6. Give Up Public WiFi


If you haven’t done so already, one new year’s resolution you can make to vastly improve the protection and security of your business and personal finances alike is to give up using public WiFi, especially for specific tasks and transactions. That includes airports, coffee shops, restaurants, and any other public spaces. 


No matter how secure your device may be, no matter how safe the website or app you’re using, no matter how secure the public WiFi may attest to being, there is scant a form of internet access less secure and more vulnerable to hacking and malware than public WiFi. If you have to use public WiFi, at least be sure you know the security settings on your device and the security risks involved in the actions you’ll take over that connection. 


7. Employ the Experts


Finally, to start your North Carolina business’s new year off right, you want only one of the top accounting firms in Charlotte NC, by your side helping you succeed and avoid common pitfalls alike, and, for that, you need look no further than Charlotte NC accountant Scott Boyar, CPA. Scott offers both small business CPA and small business bookkeeping services, so you can have the same set of expert eyes preparing your financial paperwork over the year and reconciling and submitting it come tax time.

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