With the new year right around the corner, solopreneurs should be thinking about turning over that new leaf for a bright coming year. New Year's turnover is an essential part of any business owner's calendar. It is a time to take stock of your business, your progress, your successes, and to make plans for a brighter future. It's also when businesses prepare financially for the upcoming new fiscal year and tax season. As a solopreneur, you are not only your own boss but also your own team and support system, which means tackling the new year with independent enthusiasm.
How should a solopreneur, particularly a solo travel agent, plan for the new year? We've put together a handy guide that you can use as a checklist or as an inspiration to craft your new year for profitability and growth.
Organize Your Finances
While you're preparing for the new year, the most important business task is to sort out your finances. Whether you've kept meticulous records or thrown your receipts into folders to deal with later, now is the time to ensure that everything is in order. It's time to line up your income vs your expenses and calculate the year's revenue.
Go through all your records, comparing them to your notes and receipts, to make sure everything is 100% accurately recorded. Double-check your online records to ensure that they match your in-office records and that all your accounts have all the right numbers. Audit all your subscriptions, licenses, and paid services that might expire or need renewal. Make decisions on what to keep, upgrade, or cut. Then collate your records so that you know exactly where to find every detail of your finances when they are needed.
Make Plans for Your Taxes
In addition to sorting out your business finances, you'll also be preparing for tax season. As a solopreneur, you will be filing self-employed taxes based on your personal business incorporation and how you 'pay yourself' through your enterprise. Like any independent professional, no one is setting aside your taxes out of each paycheck. Instead, you should have been putting aside your tax percentage monthly in preparation for next April.
Calculate your tax amount this year and ensure that your tax account is ready. If not, correct the balance now during your new year's preparations. It's a good idea to run your finances by an accountant or financial advisor just to be certain.
Don't forget to line up your tax deductions. For a solopreneur, there are tons of tax deductions available for your small business, from energy deductions to business expenses. Because you're a solo business owner, any spending you did for the business can count as a business expense tax deduction. If you bought equipment, software, outsourced services, and so on, be sure to calculate those into your deduction plans. Again, run this by an accountant or tax lawyer to be sure.
Touch Base With Your Network
As a travel agent (or any self-networking solopreneur) your network is an essential part of doing business. The holidays and the new year are a great time to touch base with your entire network, from clients to venues. With each network contact, send a friendly message that reaffirms your connection and invites them to reach out with any plans or opportunities that might be mutually beneficial.
Send holiday greetings to your clients. Wish them a happy new year and invite them to reach out with their travel plans for the upcoming year. This might be just the reminder they need to start planning a future vacation, months in advance.
Send a friendly greeting to your business contacts as well, wishing them a good business year and reaffirming your positive relationship. A warm thank you to your clients and fellow businesses is also a wonderful way to reach out. A few simple seasons greetings can go a long way.
Update Your Online Information
The year is changing, and maybe the details of your business have changed as well. Anywhere you have personal or business information shared online, it's time to double-check your facts and keep your information current. For example, if your LinkedIn says you've been solopreneuring for two years, update that to three. If you've changed location, phone number, primary payment card, or built a web of support email addresses for the business, plug those into your agency's online listings.
You may also want to take this time to write new blurbs for your business description and personal information on the various websites where you advertise or share information. The new year is the right time for a fresh look at your information as well as factual updates.
Make a Few Beneficial Changes to Your Website
Speaking of online updates, take a look at your website with new eyes, as well. Your business website is the host of all landing pages and the funnel through which your clients go through when deciding whether to hire you. This means that you want your website to be fresh and attractive year after year.
While you don't need to do a full website overhaul, find a few small things about the website that you could improve during your new year's preparations. Update a few pages, add a splash of color, or take notes on developer-handled changes you'd like to commission this year. Make your website a little more attractive each time you look at it.
Set Your Business Goals for the New Year
As you prepare yourself and your business for the new year, reflect on your goals. Looking at your finances, you probably developed a good idea of your success in this last year. Naturally, your goal next year is to do even better. Consider the ways you'd like to do better and the steps you can take to get there.
Would you like to attract more client leads, plan more personalized trips, or handle your internal finances more neatly? Turn these into the kind of new year's resolution for the business. The new year is a perfect time to shape your business with new goals and techniques.
Expand Your Network
Finally, put some thought into how to expand your network of vendors and venues this year. Consider building a relationship with a new line of hotels or getting to know a new airline's policies in detail. Make plans to expand the services so that you can confidently recommend and coordinate for your clients. Make a list of new brands you will purposefully reach out to and the types of experiences you might gain a better understanding of to offer your clients a better service.
As a solopreneur, your edge is your ability to customize your service to exactly what your clients need. Your collection of contacts and resources defines that. In the new year, make a to-do list to expand your network.
The new year is a wonderful time for solopreneurs, but it's also very busy. Once your finances and paperwork are in order, there are so many ways for you to make positive plans for the year to come. From setting powerful goals to building your network, solopreneurs can turn that wonderful New Years energy into motivation to start 2020 on the right foot for your business.