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As 2017 draws to a close, and 2018 nears, most business owners are looking to the future and trying to determine what the best solutions are for their business. It’s a difficult question, as each business is different, and will have different needs. But preparing can make sure that 2018 will be a good year.

Pick a goal

The first step to achieving any goal is to determine what that goal is.  Understanding what you want your business to accomplish in 2018 can help prepare it for that success. This can be as big as expanding the company to as simple as improving sales.

The more clarity you have in your goals, the more details your plans can be. If you decide you need to expand from one location to two you should start planning what that growth needs. Will you need loans, and if so what types? Is there a location that best suits the needs of your business, or will you need to create one? If you want to improve sales that might mean taking a hard look at your marketing metrics and developing a new strategy for the coming year. Each problem and goal will have a different solution.

Plan for major changes in business

As much as every business owner would like to believe that their business is static, the truth is every business will go through significant changes next year. An employee might leave or distributor might find a new client. A major deal might come through, or it might fall apart. There’s no guarantee that a change is good or bad, only that it will occur.  The earlier in the year that a business begins planning for those changes and the financial impacts they will have, the better its ability to complete its goals will be.

If a major change requires a loan or other financial aid, it is better to begin the preparation as soon as possible. Loan approval can take time, and being prepared for unexpected turns in a project can make sure they don’t derail the entire business.  Having a business plan ready will result in better savings, more control over inventory, and more stability in finances.

Talk to a financial expert

Having an expert on hand can ensure that anything a business owner doesn’t understand can be handled by someone who is an expert. Finances are one of the most frustrating aspects of running a business. Having a capable advisor can help solve those issues more rapidly so you can get back to your company. One of the biggest ways a financial expert can help is in the creation of a business plan. If you already have a plan, make sure that it is updated for the new year and the goals you set for yourself in 2018.

Partnering with a CPA or tax expert now will assist in preparing for 2019 tax season. Many people chose to wait on finding a tax expert to handle their filings, such as locating an accountant now to process 2017 taxes.  But planning ahead and finding one early in the year allows you to proactively minimize your 2018 taxes throughout the coming year.

Depending on your needs you may also want to look for a loan broker or other expert, as one person’s expertise may not translate as well to another area of the financial world. What is essential in each case is getting a jump start in locating an expert to help you. The earlier in the year a business starts looking, the better positioned you will be for achieving your 2018 goals.

Preparation is key to a successful year. Whether it is preparation for a shift in your business, or a new financial situation, being prepared can make any business owner’s life much easier.  And if your business goals require funding, and the assistance of a loan broker, our team is here to help.