If you’re reading this, it means you survived tax season. Great work! But small business owners know that taxes aren’t just an annual event.

In order for your business to thrive, you should always be planning ahead. Here’s a quick checklist to help you prepare for life after tax season 2017.

Make a Tax Calendar

You can refer to the official IRS Tax Calendar, or make your own. Consider adding dates such as employee payroll dates, vendor invoice deadlines, and the due dates for any small business loans you have in repayment. Take the time to set up reminders for yourself now, and you’ll save plenty of time and worry for the rest of the year.

In 2014, the IRS assessed $2.1 billion in civil penalties against business income tax filers. 47% of those were for delinquent payments. For some, this is an issue of having the cash on hand to make tax payments – for others, it’s just an issue of organization. It’s vital to build tax time into your schedule, so you can avoid unnecessary fees.

 

Set Realistic Financial Goals

“Either you’re growing, or you’re dying.” It’s a phrase we hear in business schools, at work, and even in self-help books. Professor Edward D. Hess tells us growth is important, but only up to a point. In an article titled “The Grow or Die Lie,” Hess writes that business owners should instead “be motivated by the motto ‘Improve or die.’ Every business must continually improve its customer value proposition better than its competition in order to stay viable. That’s where real success lies.”

Ask yourself: is your business growing in the right direction? Whether you’re selling apples or apps, there’s always a way to improve, and sales tracking is the first step. Make sure you have a complete, dynamic picture of how your business is doing before you decide to make any changes.

When you’re ready to invest in an improvement, make a careful decision about what will do your business the most good. Maybe you should spend more money on hiring a famous hair stylist to bring new customers into salon, or perhaps you’d like to redesign the packaging on your homemade chicken soup. Whatever investments you make, be sure to have a specific, attainable plan for how these changes will help your business grow.

 

The Right Tool for the Job

Any business that sells items – whether they’re sandwiches, suitcases, or sarongs – has a point of sale system. For some, that POS is just you, your pencil, and an underpaid notebook. We won’t waste your time explaining why a cloud-based point of sale system will save you money – if you don’t already have one, you won’t have time to read it. Those of you who do have a cloud-based point of sale will already understand how vital it is to save all your data in one convenient place. Why not give the same attention to your taxes?

Shogo provides accounting software that integrates directly with your point of sale system. Track your finances all day, every day, automatically. When March 2018 rolls around, you’ll already have all the data you need to file. Save time every day, while also making next year’s tax season easier than ever.

 

Small but Mighty

According to the SBA, small businesses make up 99.7% of US business, and employ 48% of private US workers. That’s a lot of bargaining power. Consider partnering with other small businesses so you can support each other.

Partnerships come in many forms: if you own a restaurant, you might try stocking vegetables that come from a nearby farm. For retail shops, this may mean selling jewelry made by a local artist. Connect with other small business owners, and you’ll start to learn from each other’s experience. Whether you want to know about marketing, negotiating with vendors, or even tax law, your questions are probably not unique.

Every small business owner has a passion. And unless your business is an accounting firm, that passion is probably not doing your taxes. With these tips, and more ideas soon to be found on our blog, you can keep your finances in order and focus on doing what you do best: your business.