How to make the most of your 2018 budget before it’s too late

Drive-thru:

  • It’s not too late to earmark a budget surplus before 2018 ends.
  • Extra funds give you the opportunity to improve business.
  • Now is also an ideal time to review your overall budget.

With the year soon grinding to a halt, now is a good time to take a look at your budget. Hopefully you’ve been so busy completing jobs you haven’t had a chance to spend all of the funds you earmarked for 2018.

If that’s the case, here are some ways to make the most of remaining money before the year comes to a close.

Invest in equipment

Chances are your equipment has worked overtime for you this year. Consider using extra funds to replace equipment or buy new items. This is also a good time to have equipment serviced.

Joe Palumbo, president of Ice Dam Guys, provider of ice removal services for buildings and homes, says he usually invests extra funds into his equipment.

“Our gear takes a beating, and we use custom machines that are ridiculously expensive,” he says. “I begin by assessing what needs replacing. I also consider purchasing new, upgraded equipment and the feasibility of doing so. To determine if I should make a new purchase, I calculate if the equipment would significantly increase efficiency and make the company more profitable.”

Treat your employees

Human capital is your most important asset. Happy, productive employees produce superior workmanship.

The end of the year is the ideal time to show employees your appreciation for work well done. Palumbo gives his employees useful items such as a high-quality thermos or high-end outdoor gear. Other options include cash bonuses, gift cards and tickets to sporting events. The more personalized the gifts the better. For instance, if you know that an employee likes a certain team, get tickets when the team is playing.

Put money into marketing

The busier you keep your crew, the better. Since many leads today are generated online, put resources into online marketing. Use extra funds to update your website (or start one). Hire someone to work on the site’s SEO so you’re more likely to attract potential customers.

This may be a good opportunity to start a newsletter or blog or make a marketing plan to reach out to local residents or businesses. You could also take this time to devise a plan to increase word-of-mouth advertising or boost online reviews.

Donate

If you feel compelled to help those in need, the end of the year is a great time to donate some funds to a worthy cause. Check with your accountant or tax advisor before giving to ensure you get the optimum tax benefit.

Ensure the organization to which you donate is a designated nonprofit and that you get a receipt outlining the donation. Failure to do this may result in missing out on a potential tax benefit.

Focus on continuing education

Putting extra funds towards continuing education ensures that your company stays current, viable and competitive.

Chances are there are certifications you’d like to earn for yourself and your crew. There may also be new techniques that it would behoove you and your team to learn. Look into sending key employees to upcoming classes and training, as well as industry conferences.

Update software

Perhaps you’ve outgrown software programs used to run your company. Now is an ideal time to update software, such as accounting, invoicing, payroll and time tracking software. An investment in these areas can lead to a boost in productivity and ensure that all work is properly billed.

Review your budget

If you’re ending the year without extra funds or in the negative, now is a good time to take a close look at your company budget. Identify the reasons why there isn’t a surplus. For instance, you may have had some unexpected expenses during the year. On the other hand, funds may have slipped away due to overspending in certain categories.

“It’s imperative to have a working budget and know where you stand,” says Palumbo. “This is a good time to rein in the expenses so you can start 2019 out on solid financial footing.”

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