Get Ready for 2011: A Business Checklist

by Melinda F. Emerson

At this time of year, we all have a lot of pressures. We have our families, the holidays, parties, shopping, and our travel plans. Then there’s how we make our living. If you are a small business owner, you do not get lots of time off. It is important for us to stay organized to manage all that we juggle.

In order to get things started off right in the New Year; make sure you’ve got everything squared away. I hate to do it, but I need to add a few more things to the to do list. Here are 10 Important Tasks To Do Before 2011:

1. Update Your Business Plan: Take the time to finish, update or write a business plan so that you can start out the new-year not wondering what’s going to happen – you’ll be able to make it happen!

2. Create 2011 Folders: Do this for all the key files in your computer that you use on a regular basis, ex: contracts 2011, schedules 2011, meeting notes 2011, etc.

3. Unsubscribe Yourself: If you haven’t opened an e-newsletter in the last 60 days, you no longer need to get the information in your inbox. Free yourself.

4. Export Your 2010 Contacts: Make sure you have three ways to contact everyone. Export your contacts into email, LinkedIn, Facebook and your CRM system.

5. Develop an Editorial Calendar: If you use an e-newsletter or blog, lay out a monthly content plan for yourself for 2011. If you can, write all your e-newsletters now for the year, so you won’t be slammed once the New Year starts rolling.

6. Give Your Blog a Facelift: Think about a new feature you can add to your blogin 2011. Even adding a new header graphic can make a big difference to your blog. People like to see things evolve and change over time.

7. Empty Your Email Inbox: Start the year fresh with no old emails. It will be like going away on vacation and coming home to a clean house.   Ahhh… priceless. And if you subscribe to anything you haven’t read yet, file it or delete, delete, delete.

8. Collect W-4 Forms and W-9 Forms: Make sure you get up-to-date W-9 forms and/or W-4 for all freelance and full-time employees so that you can mail the W-2 and 1099 forms by Jan 31, 2011 to all workers paid over $600 this calendar year. People need those to get their personal income taxes done.

9. Develop a target customer list: Every year I make a list of the top conferences where I want to speak, and corporate clients I want to have. Monthly, I check my list against my sales activities. Challenge yourself by putting some big fish on the list. It’s a great way to keep your sales processes going.

10. Get yourself a new personal theme song: It’s important to have way to keep motivated as an entrepreneur. Music is always a good option. Pick a theme song that makes you feel good whenever you hear it. Make the song’s video one of your favorites on YouTube. Make sure you have a copy on your MP3 Player, and have a version for the car too. Just have it handy so you can rock your theme music whenever you need to remind yourself why you started your business.

From a post by Melinda Emerson.

For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog

Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady, is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure.  She has been featured on NBC Nightly News, in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise Magazine. Melinda is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. (Adams Media 2010)

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