Saturday, January 19, 2013

5 Ways Business Owners Can Stay Sane in 2013.

January of 2013 came and is almost gone. The New Year means new tax laws and new company policies. It can be a chaotic time for business owners.

So, what are some ways business owners can keep their sanity? Below are my top five tips for staying sane and organized in 2013.

#1 - Get a large tub to hold your 2012 files. That's right. The most obvious way to clear the clutter and keep those past files organized and accessible is to put them all in one place. Seems simple, but completing this step will help put your mind at ease and help you gear up for the New Year!

#2 - Payroll tax returns for fourth quarter and the annual Form 940 are due by Jan. 31. W2s must be mailed by Jan. 31 in order to be in compliance. Check to make sure you have current addresses for each employee. Form W3 and copies of the W2s must be mailed to the government by Feb. 28. Avoid the stress and get this done as soon as possible.

Forms 1099 must also be mailed by Jan. 31, however, don’t mail the government copies until the Feb. 28 due date. This way, if one of your independent contractors reports an error to you, you can make the changes without having to send in corrected 1099s to the government. Verify your contractor’s mailing address before mailing, and check the rules pertaining to 1099s. The basic guidelines to follow are: The recipient is unincorporated (unless an attorney) and was paid more than $600 for services rendered during the calendar year.

Waiting until the date of these deadlines will cause you worry and take your focus away from other matters that could be more important to your business.

#3 Send a Thank-You to all of your clients from 2012. It seems pretty basic but you will be surprised how far a $5.00 personalized Thank You card will go. It shows clients that they are more than just a dollar sign and reminds them that your services / products are still available. It also allows you to revisit their file when writing the card, making sure lose ends that could result in an audit are handled.

#4 Review your errors. Hey, we all make them. Take a look at your biggest errors in 2012 and decide how you can offset them from happening again. If it is a new contract, new refund policy, new proofing policy - whatever... just learn from your mistakes and you will feel more organized and confident moving forward.

#5 Review how you process new orders / clients. Ask yourself if there is something stressful about this process. If so, make a plan how to lighten the stress load and streamline the new business.


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