5 Things Your Business Needs To Update Before 2014


Supporting Contributor

The end of the year is almost here, so it’s time to think about cleaning out the old and updating some of your business’s programs and policies for the new year. Whether you run on a fiscal year or a calendar year, the end of 2013 is still a good time to evaluate what’s currently working in your business and make some new strategies for better performance in January.

Some of that better performance comes in the form of necessary updates. Over the next two months, make sure that the following five items are all updated and ready to go for January 1, 2014:

1. Health care

Whether you’re a small business with a single employee or a large corporation with hundreds of staff members, it’s your job to figure out how the new Affordable Care Act is going to affect your business. In some cases, you won’t need to change a thing; in other cases, you’ll need to update your policies or look for affordable healthcare solutions. Start by reading the information at the U.S. Small Business Administration website, which includes information on what to do if you’re a business of any size, from fewer than 25 employees to more than 50.

2. Computers

Apple just released its new series of MacBooks as well as a new operating system, and the last few months of the year are a great time to update or upgrade any computers or laptops your business owns that may be running a little slower than usual. Even a few seconds of lag time as your aging computer saves documents or opens websites adds up, especially over the course of a business day. Make sure that you and your staff all have the appropriate computing equipment you need to do your jobs.

3. Antivirus programs

Hackers are always generating new ways of infiltrating computers and gaining access to company servers. Take a look at your current security program and update your antivirus software so that your business remains protected from malware, bots, adware and other threats.

4. Website

Your business website becomes outdated nearly instantly unless you continually monitor it and add new information. For example: does your website include links to staff members who are no longer with your company? Does it lack information on newly-hired staff? Does it include links to old products, or reference “new developments” that are now months old? Take some time to comb through your website and update the text and images so they reflect where your business is going in 2014.

If your entire website looks dated, it’s time to call up a design team — you should really be giving your website a full redesign every 3-5 years to ensure it matches new browser and mobile standards. It also is the best way to make sure your site looks fresh and functional, instead of being the Space Jam of the internet.

5. Furniture and fixtures

Do you work at a desk with a sticky drawer? Does everyone in your office know not to put anything in that one broken file cabinet? Is there a stain on your carpet that you’ve never gotten around to fixing? Now is the time to go over your furniture and fixtures and make sure they’re all in good order. There’s nothing less morale-boosting than having to start a new year while still being stuck with a mouse that won’t scroll or a chair that won’t roll.

These are only a few of the items to consider updating for 2014. Don’t forget about business cards, social media accounts, client email lists, and anything else in your office that might be outdated or in need of a clean sweep. No matter where you are in your fiscal calendar, the turning of the year is always a good opportunity to think “out with the old, in with the new!”

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