We know, it’s only September – but now is the time to start planning for the next year of your business. Codifying your exact plans and goals months ahead of time will allow you the freedom to optimize once you’re in the thick of the year. Here are five things your business needs to be doing, right now, to prepare for 2015:

1. Develop a list of goals for the coming year.
Be specific – instead of vague comments about better serving your customers, nail down your sales goals on a month-by-month basis. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to track your progress throughout the year.

2. Do a yearly SWOT analysis of your business financials.
What worked in 2014 may not work in 2015. Conducting a SWOT analysis will allow you to assess your strengths and your weaknesses in great detail.

3. Learn to delegate.
Figure out what tasks – such as social media marketing, or accounting – you’re going to delegate in 2015. Find your new workers, if needed, well ahead of time.

4. Update your records.
Figure out where your business stands financially, and analyze the past months to see where the potential for growth may lie.

5. Create an Action Plan.
Make a list of actions you plan to enact in order to achieve your business goals for the next four financial quarters.

How far in advance do you plan for your small business? Tell us in the comments below.

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