It never seems to fail that by the time Q4 comes around, the rest of the year snowballs. And if it’s your busiest season, you might find yourself as a business owner at the center of said snowball—tumbling uncontrollably towards the finish line.

This scenario plays out for so many of us. Especially as holiday pressures from friends and family pile up. Sometimes it’s hard to deliver on best intentions for business prepping and planning when you’re trying to keep your head above water in all other areas of life.

Know that you don’t have to tackle everything below to guarantee success in the year ahead. But if you’re able to chip away at one or all of these tasks, you’ll do wonders for your sanity once January rolls around.

Appreciate the Progress Made

First things first, for as great as it is to plow forward, there’s a lot to be said for reflecting on what’s been. To recognize and appreciate the progress made by your business over the past 12 months.

Take five, ten, however many minutes you need to sit still for a second and think back on what was accomplished. And more importantly, abstain from criticizing yourself for having not done more.

You can’t account for every obstacle that comes your way or change what’s already come to be. What you can do is learn from mistakes made, be encouraging of what you did overcome, and use your experiences to fuel future growth forward.

Organizing Your Financials

Tax season is dreaded for a reason. For small business owners, getting all of the paperwork and financials in order can feel all-consuming.

Use any downtime you can spare over the holidays to review cash flow statements, update expenses, and gather any information needed from vendors, clients, and employees. Additionally, if you feel like an accountant is the best route to take for handling your taxes this year, try to find one before the year ends since most will likely be busy and/or come with added costs for last-minute services.

Setting Growth Goals

As you’re reviewing your financials from the year, knock out two birds with one stone in using them to build out a holistic growth plan for 2020. One way you can strategically go about this is by conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis.

With an understanding across each of these areas, you’ll gain a clearer view of where your efforts would be best spent in the months to come. It may not be perfectly executed the first time around—but that’s what time and practice are for.

>>Download our SWOT Analysis template to get you started.

Budgeting for 2020 Initiatives

At the very least, mapping out a reasonable budget for 2020 ensures you’re not flying blind. Account for every department and the initiatives planned for each (e.g. hiring an accountant or creating a marketing ad budget).

Take into consideration any tools, software, or training you’ll want to pursue in the new year as well. You’ll often find great deals on software, especially towards the end of the year so use this time to weigh them as investments in driving future productivity and efficiencies.