Maybe you're working during the holidays--maybe you're not. Either way, there are some urgent end-of-year tasks all entrepreneurs should take care of. Make sure you don't drop the ball so you can go into 2015 refreshed and right on track. Start by giving those holiday bonuses if that's part of your plan, and remember that it's a deduction just like regular employee payroll.
Also, bear in mind that giving holiday bonuses sets a precedent for the years to come. Even though you don't "have" to give these bonuses, your employees will come to expect them. This is also the year to give bonuses to your service crew, from IT troubleshooting to office cleaning teams. Consider if you'll be flush enough each year before getting into the holiday spirit a little too much.
Here are a few other 2014 tasks to check off your list (that you'll surely check twice):
1. See the doctor, dentist, dermatologist, etc.
Before your health insurance rolls into the New Year, take advantage of those deductibles you've likely already reached. Remember, as an entrepreneur you can write off co-pays sometimes, too. December is considered one of the "cheapest" months to take care of your health, so start making those appointments. On the plus side, it's not a popular time for many to see their healthcare providers, so getting in may be easier.
2. Make any last-minute business purchases
Check with your CPA and see if you are close to qualifying for being in a lower tax bracket. If you are, making some much-needed office purchases could be a great idea because it lowers your profits at the end of the day. You can get new laptops, printers, tablets, office furniture and other goodies for work only. Plus, it's the season for great deals, so you can probably get more for the same price.
3. Donate instead of giving gifts
You can also move into a lower tax bracket and increase the number of your deductions by donating to 501(c)3 organizations. In fact, you can give these donations as gifts (many of them come with an "experience" such as a safari when you donate to a local exotic animal zoo) and get good karma points, a tax write-off, and a genuine thank you to boot.
4. Write handwritten cards to your clients
For some entrepreneurs, such as service providers, sending a heartfelt, handwritten holiday card is an effective way to increase business in 2015. Your clients want to feel appreciated by you," says Kristy Rampton, an entrepreneur who sells baby clothes. "It sets you apart from the competition, too. You can even hire a handwriting service to take care of the grunt work for you and then write off those services."
5. Give your office a deep cleaning
Even if you have regular office cleanings scheduled, it's time for a deep clean to go into the New Year with a clean slate, literally. At the same time, schedule any appliance inspections that may be overdue. This ensures your appliances (such as the fridge in the break room) are functioning well and reducing energy consumption.
It's without a doubt the most wonderful time of the year for many entrepreneurs out there--but are you capitalizing on it? You still have a few days to make 2014 the best it can be. Try taking care of some basics that, although they may seem unimportant in the grand scheme of things, can increase how happy you are--as well as your employees and your customers.