How to deal with end-of-year stress as a small business owner

By Sam Casteris

Holiday preparations, taxes, and paperwork can seem like a whirlwind for any small business owner, especially if you are just starting. Don’t worry, this is normal! As anyone who owns a business knows, it’s possible to leverage those stressors to come out on top. Keep reading to learn how to tackle your stressors to come out on top. Here are stress-free ways to prepare taxes for your business and handle your employee affairs.

Tax prep: The dasy way

Let’s dive into the good stuff first. A healthy relationship with your taxes is crucial for any thriving business. If you have an accountant to handle taxes, that’s great! Make sure it’s an accountant who knows all about business deductions and expenses of all types. If you don’t have an accountant and you’re bootstrapping instead, here are a few steps for those who accomplish their taxes on their own.

First, collect all of your records. Once you have your earnings and expenses in one place, recognize your kind of business and file with the appropriate documents. Keep deadlines in mind throughout the year and maintain organized records to lighten your load when it comes time to get everything out for filing.

Keep employees happy with end-of-year incentives

Now that the end of the year is approaching, keep two things in mind. Employee bonuses and schedules. Do crucial research to know who will receive an employee bonus. Keep a portfolio for each employee throughout the year so that you’ll have a track record of their accomplishments. Take note on who has excelled and who inspires the workplace. Bonuses can be tricky but when done correctly, everything will flow better, including your taxes.

In terms of scheduling, consider closing down shop for days like Thanksgiving and Christmas. This will give employees much-needed time with their family, especially if they have to road trip or drive for the holidays. Expect employees to call in sick as well. For this reason, it’s important to have staff on call just in case.

Rewarding those who do work during the holidays can also be a great incentive to keep the business staffed. Keeping employees happy during work is essential to keeping a strong business, so though you may incur higher employee wage costs, as a result, remember what they’re giving up to work for you.

Take time for yourself

Keeping a stable mind and great attitude comes from taking care of yourself. You are the captain of the ship, and none of the passengers will be calm seeing that you aren’t. Take some time for yourself and relax. Take time off to recharge and focus on the year ahead. A small trip can really clear one’s mind and reduce stress.

Don’t forget to forward your emails and calls to an employee you know is up to the task. Delegating tasks will be a deciding factor in your stress levels. Best not to come back to an inbox full of hundreds of emails!

Set your eyes on the future

It is time to reflect on the growth of your business. Here are some ways to begin brainstorming what your next year will look like professionally, personally, and how those two parts of life intersect:

– Have you accomplished your goals for the year?

– How could you have accomplished your goals better?

– After observing the past, one must look towards the future with specific questions as well.

– What goals do you have to accomplish and by when?

– How can you implement what you have learned from the previous year?

– Are all of the employees in positions that maximize workflow?

Ask employees to think about similar questions. Set up a meeting with employees to brainstorm together. Not only will they feel a sense of control over the well-being of the business, but they’ll be invested and accountable when times get tough.

You may even learn about loose ends in your business that employees are willing to take on for you. In the following weeks, proceed with individual meetings based on what is working versus what is not.

Be sure to set actionable goals. This means making deadlines and sticking to them. Knowing where you are and where you are going is crucial to not only accomplishing goals but managing stress as well. It can be comparable to driving without a GPS in a foreign town. Nothing is more stressful than not knowing where you are going.

The end of the year should be something to celebrate! You made it through one chapter of your journey and now you are heading towards the next. Make sure that as you draw nearer to the end of the year, you take some time to live in the moment and bask in your achievements. You earned it! Congratulations, and cheers to the next year!


Sam Casteris is a freelance writer who subcontracts with other service professionals in the online space. You can more of her work on Contently.

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