*updated for 2019!*
Originally published November 27, 2017
YOU MADE IT. You made it through wedding season. Through the holidays.
And now…. it’s ENGAGEMENT SEASON.
That time of year when we switch from one calendar year to the next…. also referred to as “the New Year” to those outside of the wedding industry.
And while this slight lull in actual events is occurring, you’ve got to make sure you’ve closed out 2018 and are lining up 2019 to be an even bigger year than the last.
So…. what should you be doing to finalize 2018??
1) Gather all of your receipts— and SAVE them!
I used to think that just logging my expenses was enough.
Yeahhh…I was wrong.
Keeping copies of receipts is actually really important for entrepreneurs-- especially if you get audited. So that crumbled up receipt in the bottom of your purse? That smushed invoice in the bottom of your camera bag? PULL EM OUT, SCAN and STICK EM IN A FOLDER!
And this year? Use a receipt scanning app to make your life a LOT easier. Then you won’t be carrying around 200 crumbled up pieces of paper and trying to figure out if that trip to Michaels was for your client or for your latest crafting craze.
2) Make sure you've paid your filing fees, sales taxes, and biz licenses.
When things slow down a bit, it's the perfect time to make sure your filings are all up to date. For example:
Take a gander at your state's corporations office to make sure you're up to date on your corporate filings.
Dig out that business license to make sure it's paid to date. Renew it for this upcoming year.
Make sure your sales tax figures are updated.
And remember: If you are selling a physical product (ahem, photogs selling prints and florals, this is most certainly you) you NEED to be paying sales tax on it!!
3) Update your info if you've moved.
A lot of wedding businesses are home based. If you've moved, make sure you've updated your information with:
your business credit cards,
your state's corporations commission,
your county business licensing office,
State taxing authorities
and any other government bodies who might be trying to get hold of you.
4) Check re-filing dates on any trademarks
Do you have any trademarks filed? It’s a good time to check up on when your “statements of continued use,” or a “Section 8 filing,” colloquially referred to as a “re-file,” are due.
Statements of continued use are due after the first 5 years (between years 5 and 6) and then every 10 years thereafter (between years 10 and 11). Unless your paying your attorney to monitor these for you, they probably aren’t. So head on over to the USPTO, look up your trademark, and find out when the next filing is due (try searching and using the TDSR tool).
5) Evaluate your contracts.
Take a good look at all of your contracts. What worked? What didn't? What terms were you constantly editing and working around? What clauses made sense before but no longer serve you? What's WAY too wordy and needs a makeover? Or, is it time to buy a new contract all together?
6) Close out any accounts receivable
“Accounts receivable” is essentially a way of saying “open invoices where people owe you money and haven’t paid you yet.”
That’s money you earned. If people owe you money, put on your big kid pants and go get it. You don’t have to go full-on debt collector (that’s actually not advisable, FYI) but make sure you’ve asserted your right to be paid. You pulled off an event for them— and now it’s time to be compensated for the labor you put in.
This will help you get a better picture of your year in review, as well. Getting that full picture can be very valuable if you’re looking to get a line of credit, bring on a partner, or sell your business at some point!
What else are you doing to prepare for the new year? Leave a comment and we will pick the best to add to our list!