Hopefully you kicked off the year successfully with our Q1 Planning Checklist. With Q2 nearly here, it’s time to repeat the exercise.
While you may think Q2 planning is all about prepping for tax season, there are a lot more activities you can add to your to-do list to help you stay focused on the right things and grow your business.
Here are six items to add to your Q2 small business checklist.
1. Create a (one page) business plan for the quarter
Most small business owners have a sense of where they want to take their business, but often overlook writing things down. A quarterly plan makes it much easier to get where you want to go.
Now, this document doesn’t need to be encyclopedic, shoot for a one-page plan instead. Start by identifying 3-5 goals or focus areas for the quarter. Then add the tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve each goal, critical milestones, who’s accountable for each task, and the deadline. It’s also useful to have one or two KPIs to track success against your goal, such as cost reduction, revenue improvement, reduced customer churn, etc.
Keeping your Q2 plan short and sweet makes it easier for everyone to understand where the business needs to go and their role in making that happen. It also makes it easier to refer to and check off key milestones and achievements throughout the quarter.
2. Prepare reports for your tax preparer
We couldn’t stay off the topic of taxes for long. If you haven’t yet organized your most important financial documents in preparation for filing your 2018 business tax return, this chore is one to add to your checklist.
Whether you work with a tax preparer or do your taxes yourself, assemble the following:
- Profit and loss statement
- Balance sheet
- Cost of goods sold (including beginning and ending inventory amounts, materials and supplies, etc.)
- Expenses (marketing, utilities, travel, depreciation, business insurance, office supplies, training costs, home-office expenses, etc.)
- Form 1099-MISC
Read more from the IRS on what kind of records you should keep. You can’t underestimate the value of proper organization. Staying organized can help you out in a big way if the IRS chooses to audit you.
Here are some more tips to avoid an IRS audit.
3. After you file, prepare for the year ahead
Once the rush of tax season is over, meet with your tax planner and/or accountant to assess lessons learned from this year’s filing, your fiscal state over the past year, and plan for any necessary adjustments in the year ahead.
Your accountant can help make sense of all your numbers and figures and recommend strategies for balancing your budget, improving cash flow, overcoming seasonality, reducing the amount of tax you owe, and making decisions about big equipment purchases, and so on.
Read more about What an Accountant Can Do For Your Business and What They Can’t. And, if you don’t have an accountant yet, check out this helpful article: How to Find the Right Accountant for Your Business.
4. Plan how you’ll use your tax refund
If you anticipate getting a tax refund this year and not quite sure how you’ll spend it, use this time to plan accordingly. Could the cash support some of your business goals? What about using the funds to invest in a marketing campaign or customer event? Investing in new equipment or technology could also make a big difference on your productivity. For more ideas, read 10 Smart Ways to Spend your Tax Return and Grow Your Business.
5. Spring clean your business
With spring in the air, Q2 is a great time to dust off your business and find ways to be more efficient, productive, and streamlined.
Here are a few ideas for spring cleaning your small business courtesy of Fundbox blogger, Justin Reynolds:
- Tidy up! Get into cleaning mode and deep clean your office, storefront or workplace. Toss out old files, organize those that matter, replace furniture that’s seen better days.
- Segment your email marketing lists. Get better results across your email campaigns by segmenting your lists and delivering more personalized content based on your customers interests, behavior, and needs.
- Get productive with new tech. Clear out old systems and outdated processes and look to upgrade with modern technology. Be strategic though, pick out a major pain point and find a solution that addresses that issue. Also ensure that it’s future-proof so that will grow with your business and integrate with other technology investments.
Also check out: Spring Cleaning for a Business Partnership.
6. Seasonal businesses, start summer planning now
If you’re a seasonal business, you should be preparing for summer now. From hiring seasonal workers to planning your summer marketing campaigns, it’s time to plan.
Here are some ideas to get you energized:
- How to Hire Summer Help for Your Small Business
- How to Attract Summer Interns
- Summertime Event Marketing for Your Small Business
- Heat Up Your Summer Marketing Strategy
If the summer season is your slump time, these blogs offer tips to help you get through it:
- How to Adapt to the Small Business Summer Slowdown
- 9 Ways to Use Summer Downtime to Grow Your Business
- Is Summer Your Quiet Season? 8 Tips to Overcome Cash Flow Lows
- The Science of the Summer Slump: 5 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Business
Use this checklist to keep you focused in the coming months as you tackle key deadlines, work towards your goals, and motivate your employees.