December 18, 2016

Happy New Year… And What You Need to Do to Make Sure it is a Happy New Year

By Paul Bieber

You have planned what to do on New Year’s Eve and your day off on January 1. I sincerely hope you enjoy the festivities.

But, here is what you need to do in the last two weeks of this year to give your business a great start in 2017.

  • Check with your payroll company making sure they have all the information they need to process year-end tax reports and employees’ earning records.
  • Most insurances change or renew on January first. Make sure you have communicated with your employees what changes to expect. Do this now rather than two weeks into 2017. Check your commercial lines as well. 
  • Have you and your employees made the maximum contributions to their 401 or pension plan? This benefit helps you and each employee. Are you starting a plan? Teach your employees these benefits. 
  • It is always good business to go over the employees’ benefits plans explaining health savings account options, the 401 plan, their paperwork responsibilities to get the most out of the plans and how to get questions answered with various carriers.
  • Remind everyone that you also pay 7.65 percent of their salaries to the government for social security and Medicare.
  • Before year-end, check each employee’s vacation, sick or personal days and any other days off still available to them. If you have a use it or lose it policy make sure everyone takes full advantage of what you offer. Think about a plan that lets employees carry over days until March 31 of 2017.
  • Employees will leave companies after January first once they receive their holiday bonuses. Identify which ones are at risk to leave. Meet with them discussing their future with your company and how that meshes with what you have to offer.
  • Look at your taxes. Are you paid-in-full for all tax accounts? Do you want to move revenue into 2017? Do you want to get all expenses in this year or next year? With Mr. Trump’s tax plans, your expenses are worth less as a deduction if taxes go down and your income is more valuable in a lower tax environment.
  • Renew all licenses and permits for your business now.
  • Make sure web pages, Facebook and every electronic part of your business is up-to-date. This is more important each year. If you don’t have an electronic presence, start creating one or you won’t have too many happy new years in the future.
  • Meet with your key people, for a couple of hours at least, to set goals and plans for 2017. Listen to your people. Listen to your people. (That is worth writing twice.)
  • Clean your desk of all paper; whatever is there needs to be finished or thrown out. Clean your email giving you a 2017 clean start.
  • Here it is. The final point. Do you hear a drum roll?  SET GOALS for 2017. For yourself, your employees and your company. Make sure everyone knows the company goals and what part they will play in helping the company get there. What do you have to learn? What do you have to teach? What do your vendors have to do to help you reach your goals? What investments in people and equipment need to happen in 2017? Who is retiring and how do you transfer their skills and knowledge?
  • End 2016 knowing what you will do in 2017. I sure hope your goals come to be.

Happy New Year!