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Small Biz Focus: Farewell 2020, Hello 2021! (Hold on Maybe Not *Quite* Yet)

This article was written by Tara Palacios, Director of BizLaunch at Arlington Economic Development.

This week marks the official beginning of the holiday season. Sugar plums and New Year’s Eve preparations are generally at hand; however, many business owners are navigating the negative impact of the current health pandemic on their business. What are the key action items you should do for your business before the year ends?

BizLaunch recommends these five steps to take before we say hello to 2021:

1. Before the year ends check in with your accountant.

Before you know it, tax season will be upon us during the first quarter of 2021. If your business was awarded a CARES Act forgivable grant from a government entity you will need to take the funds in as income. You will want to know how those funds will impact your bottom line before the tax season begins. The Paycheck Protection Loans (PPP) have new guidance as well from the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Treasury Department encourages businesses to utilize the forgiveness portion of the PPP as soon as possible.

2. Undertake a business audit.

Be ready for funding opportunities in 2021. If Congress successfully passes an additional stimulus package for the U.S .before the end of 2020, ensure your business is prepared. Do a quick business audit so you can apply and be awarded funds. Here is a quick crib sheet to audit your business and be prepared for new potential opportunities in 2021:

3. Pivot again in 2021? Be open to your options.

The impact of the health pandemic changes daily. It’s challenging to design a long-term plan as a business with so many unknowns; however, as a business owner you will want to have a pulse of what is going on in your industry real-time. Some trends may be long lasting, and you’ll want to stay ahead of the fray. However, pivoting again based on the facts of the moment may help your organization as we move into 2021. Follow the opportunities, and think twice before you keep doing business as usual since these are unusual times we are living in.

4. Follow the opportunities in 2021.

Pay close to attention to emails and newsletters that support local businesses. If there are grants, resources and potential business prospects, you don’t want to miss an opportunity because you didn’t know about it. If you haven’t already, sign up for our Economic Development newsletter and BizLaunch newsletter. We will be communicating all business intelligence we find in those communications platforms.

5. Reach out for help.

You may feel like the world is on your shoulders; however, reach out for help when you need it. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the harder the challenge becomes. We recommend having a business mentor or participating in a mentorship program to help you work through an issue you are facing. It may help you look at the situation in a different way or allow you to speak with someone who has faced a similar challenge. Watch this space because BizLaunch is planning to offer new resources for our business in the coming year.

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