'Tis the season for small business owners to take stock of 2011 and get ready for success in 2012.
We know the holidays are always hectic, but it's an important time of year for your business. Not only is this the season when retailers make most of their income, it's also a good time to sit down and strategize, USA Today recommends.
Here are some tips to make the last month of the year pay off in 2012.
Take time to review your taxes. Yes, we know taxes aren't due until April 2012, but Dec. 31 is the end of the tax year for many small businesses operating on a cash basis. So it's a good idea to call your accountant before she takes off for the holidays -- there may be ways to lower your taxes by the time Tax Day rolls around. For example, you can try to lower your total profits for the taxable year, according to USA Today. Your accountant can show you how to accelerate your expenses, or delay your income.
Look into a retirement plan. If you don't have one already, consider this: Some plans must be set up by Dec. 31, though they don't require you to put money in them until April. It's also recommended that small business owners diversify their assets as much as possible.
Update your office. Whether it's office equipment or a new software system, December is a great time to set things up so you're ready to hit the ground running after Jan. 1. This lets you write off equipment purchases as business expenses in the current tax year, as mentioned above.
Take care of your seasonal employees. Don't forget, seasonal workers are people too! Though you may not see them again after the holidays, it's a good idea to recognize their hard work so they'll want to work for you again. You may want to consider handing out bonuses, or making some temp workers permanent -- after all, getting rewarded with a new job in 2012 could be the greatest holiday gift your small business can give.