The New Year is fast approaching, and for a retail business, that means it's time to start thinking about closing out the year and preparing for the next. While it's a great time to reflect and set goals, it's also a time of year that creates a lot of “to-dos” for retailers.
The holiday season is the busiest time for most retail stores. Therefore, it’s important that retailers set aside some time to make sure they're finishing up the year strong and setting the business up for success next year. Reviewing inventory, preparing earnings and tax information, and planning for the future all require a detailed review, and a year-end checklist should be an essential part of that assessment. That checklist should include:
- Run financial reports. Your finances are the heartbeat of your company and the determining factor if your business is healthy or not. Selecting operational, point of sale, and/or financial software that makes running financial reports easy enables regular review so it isn’t something you do only once a year. When you're doing monthly, weekly and daily reports you can make small incremental changes that will make a big difference in your bottom line. Key items to focus on include your balance sheet, profits and losses (P&L), and cash flow.
- Check on local changes. Local changes in sales tax or minimum wage can affect how you will approach the new year. Ensure you make any necessary changes in any systems you have in place or invest in integrations or services that automatically update these for you.
- Pay past due invoices. Check on any invoices that are past due and need to be paid by the end of the year. Ensure you're up-to-date and current with all your suppliers as to not incur any delays in your orders or shipments.
- Verify vendor information. Reach out to your suppliers to ensure their contact information is up-to-date in your system. Find out if there are any changes to the way they're accepting orders or any new minimum requirements.
- Inventory count. When you don’t have a handle on your inventory you put your business at risk. If your cash flow is tied up in inventory that's not moving, your business can’t reach its full potential. Conversely, having the right inventory can be the difference between a lost sale and a lifelong customer. Yet, research has found that 43 percent of small businesses don't track their inventory or use a manual process. Inventory management is a critical year-end task, and one that can be completed easily with the right technology in place to help you better understand inventory turnover, how each product is performing, and which products are non-sellers or out-of-stock-sellers.
- Examine staffing needs. End of year is a perfect time to evaluate your staffing needs. Maybe you made changes for the holiday rush — updated store hours, added more employees, expanded local home delivery and need additional drivers to assist. These are all things to consider when planning for your store.
- Give employee recognition. Did you have some shining stars this holiday season? Be sure to recognize your hardworking staff that make your business run smoothly, not just during the holiday season, but year-round.
- Audit your website/technology. Is your technology helping you cross tasks off your list or adding more? To maximize productivity and sales, you need technology that helps you accomplish more of your goals in a shorter amount of time with less stress. An all-in-one solution that handles your POS, e-commerce, CRM and more can help you streamline operations, optimize your inventory, and maximize your sales.
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on your business and plan for the coming year. Make sure to add these tasks to your end-of-year checklist. Have you completed all these items? What are some other important tasks that retailers should do at the end of the year? Let us know in the comments below!
Berenice Giannini is the founder and president of eTailPet, the only all-in-one retail platform designed for independent pet retailers.
Berenice Giannini is the Founder and President of eTailPet, the all-in-one retail platform for independent pet retailers. With 15 years in the pet industry, she is passionate about empowering retailers to grow their businesses with easy-to-use digital software solutions that meet the expectations of today’s consumers.
Prior to eTailPet, Bere founded pet store chain Protein for Pets, which she grew to 14 locations across Southern California and was previously Chief Operations Officer at Dogswell. Bere is a graduate of the American University of Paris, earned her MBA from the University of Southern California, and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.
She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, five children and three dogs.