Is Your Small Business Ready for 2012?
Suddenly we’re all thinking about turkey and planning our Christmas shopping (where did the time go?), which can only mean one thing: we’re finding ourselves sprinting for the finish line, and 2012 will be upon us before we realize.
Before your calendar expires, it’s a good idea to take a big-picture look at your business to make sure you have all your proverbial ducks in a row. If you haven’t had time lately to think big-picture, the slowdown of the holiday season is your chance!
Here are a few issues you may not have had a chance to consider in awhile—but there’s no time like the present to consider the future. Start the new year with your business affairs in order and have a prosperous 2012!
Do you need to boost your organic traffic?
Start the new year with a new company blog! Google loves regularly updates, keywords, and relevant content. Bring it all together by adding a blog to your business website, and use 2012 to position yourself as a valuable contributor to your industry. Your customers get a chance to interact (with your business as well as with each other), and you get to have some fun and show your personality instead of always speaking (OK, typing) using your corporate voice.
Do you need to cancel a business?
It’s not unheard of for someone to register a business only to find that their plans have changed. Maybe you officially formed a corporation, but you subsequently decided to organize as an LLC and continue your business along those lines. You may never have made a dime on your neglected corporation—but unless you formally dissolved your corporation, it’s still out there in the state’s records. In fact, you might have tax responsibilities on that corporation that you aren’t even aware of!
To avoid stringing an unused and unprofitable business into a new tax year, file a corporate dissolution on any unused businesses you may have before 2012. Your tax obligations will thank you for it.
Are you planning to file anything in January?
If you’re starting a new business, you might decide to wait until January to send in your Articles of Incorporation—after all, why put yourself in a position to be responsible for 2011 taxes when you were only operating for a fraction of the year? Between budget cuts, staffing issues, and the other business owners wanting to do the exact same thing, note that your filing could be delayed. Now, instead of forming a business too early, you’re waiting for the stack of paperwork on a filing clerk’s desk somewhere that your Articles are buried under.
Check with your state—many offer the option of a delayed filing date. Typically offered for a period of up to 90 days after you send in your Articles, a delayed filing date enables you to send in your paperwork now—beating that early-January rush—but specify the date you’d like those Articles to become effective. Voilà!
Do you need to file a DBA?
If your business has, shall we say, exceeded its programming (if Sally’s Curtains, Inc. now deals in bedding and towels, for example), consider filing a DBA, or doing business as, so that you can market to a new group of consumers and expand your business.
Now that you’ve tied up your loose ends, you’re all set to have a prosperous new year!