2017 is coming to a close. Depending on the state of your business, you may be more than ready to say “Good riddance!”, or you may be looking back on some great times you had this year. Regardless of how 2017 treated you, it’s time to look forward and make plans for 2018 (if you haven’t started already).  

2018 is predicted to be a much different year from 2017. Between heightened cyber security threats, to possible radical changes in the tax code, small business owners need to be prepared for whatever the next year throws at them. Luckily, we at Company.com are here to work with you and make sure you stay on track in the new year.  

Whether you’ve set your gameplan or not for 2018, be sure these top concerns and solutions are on your checklist: 

__ Updated Cyber Security 

As we’ve written about before, the threat to cyber security in 2018 is one that should be taken very seriously. Hackers and other attackers are constantly looking for new ways to gain access to your customers’ data for their own nefarious purposes. Though there are quite a few different ways you can ensure your data is secure, one of the newest is via Blockchain. 

More popularized by the wild rise of Bitcoin, Blockchain is an effective way to keep a ledger of all interactions on your database. If an issue ever arises, you can easily see who accessed your server at that time and what actions they took — if they even gain access in the first place. Blockchain is an effective, powerful small business cyber security tool.  

__ Stay Up-to-Date on Newest Taxes and Regulations 

The current administration is currently pushing for a massive change to the current tax code. Though the Senate and the House of Representatives are both debating what should be included in the new code, it stands to reason that changes are coming. And as a small business owner, you need to be ready to adapt to this reform, as it could affect your tax rates most.  

On top of that, state and local tax codes and regulations could also change in 2018. Staying on top of your accounting and billing invoices should be a top priority so you always know where you stand. While you can hire an accountant to handle this for you, our partnership with FreshBooks is a more affordable, easy-to-use option for small business owners. 

__ Evaluate Your Staff 

The end of the year is often when businesses give their annual reviews, along with raises and bonuses. While you’re going through this or a similar process, or simply evaluating your needs for next year, it’s time to determine if it’s time to make new hires — or fires. Though this can simply add more stress to your end-of-year preparations, it’s a crucial part of setting up for 2018. 

If you’re mired down in the holiday season, going through dozens of resumes may seem less than ideal. With Company.com’s hiring tool, you can easily post jobs, sift through resumes based on strengths and keywords, and keep track of the candidates you do like, run background checks and more. In short, we can help streamline your hiring process in this stressful season. 

__ Strengthen Your Marketing 

One of the most important parts of running a small business is having customers. Ok, so maybe that’s not some profound idea, but actually finding those customers can be a more difficult task. Every day that passes, there’s a good chance your competition gets fiercer and fiercer. Having the right marketing campaign in place, backed by effective tools and built on a strong foundation, can be the difference. 

The cornerstone of that foundation is a great website that’s fully optimized for search engines. Once that part’s done, you can build upon it with directory listings, email marketing, social media and more. Of course, digital marketing can be supplemented with traditional marketing tactics, like business cards and signage, to bolster your physical and online presence.  

__ Get Paid On Time 

Depending on the size and type of your business, you may bill clients and wait for them to fulfill invoices. Ideally, this process is handled quickly and efficiently. However, that’s not always the case. If that sounds familiar, you may need to begin adding late fees to invoices. If you aren’t easily able to keep track of your invoices, this is another problem FreshBooks can solve. 

If you do have a physical location from which customers can directly buy from you, make sure your payment processing platform is up to the task. You should be able to accept all major credit cards, as well and contactless payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc.). In addition, your platform should be highly secure.  

__ Protect and Grow Your Business 

When was the last time you looked at your small business insurance policy? Right now is a great time to evaluate it and explore other options if you feel like you’re overpaying. The same goes for any equipment protection plan you have in place. Whatever equipment you use in your office, make sure it’s protected from damage, now and in the future. 

If you’re trying to figure out how to afford such equipment and other necessities as your business grows, we can help with that, too. Our business funding service connects you with the right lenders to meet your needs, without gouging your bottom line with ridiculous interest rates. In a matter of hours, you can be well on your way to better growth in 2018. 

__ Up Your Contact Game 

If you’re still using a generic Gmail or Yahoo! email account, it’s time to upgrade. Your business should have its own email domain. That way, you can send emails that look professional and legitimate — and therefore much less likely to simply be skipped over in an inbox. In addition, having email addresses dedicated to “support” or “sales” makes getting in touch with your business much easier. 

You should also evaluate your internal communication tactics. Use a team collaboration tool that allows your entire company to be in touch with each other so everyone is up-to-date on the latest project developments. While email threads can become confusing, our team collaboration software is easy to use and simple to navigate to find what you’re looking for.  

__ Use Company.com’s Software Suite to Make 2018 the Best Year Yet 

At Company.com, we are passionate about helping small businesses thrive. We celebrate with you when you find success, and are here to help if things go wrong. With our software suite, you can fast-track many of the tasks that may otherwise bog you down and push forward to a great 2018. Contact us today to learn how we can help your unique business, or to start a free trial of our premium package