Start the Year Off Right: Six Things You Should Do This January

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This time of year it’s natural to think about resolutions and how we want to make progress within our business and personal lives. These six things aren’t resolutions, but they’re things we can do right now to start the year off right and prepare your business for a healthy and prosperous year.

  1. Review your business credit profile: You should review your profile at least once a year, so if you can’t remember when you did it last, this is a good time to do it. Dunn & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax are the three biggest bureaus, so they are a good place to start. Because they want to provide their customers with the most accurate credit data about potential borrowers available, they want small business owners like you to periodically review their profile to make sure there aren’t mistakes or inaccurate information.
  2. If needed, make a plan for improvement: Once you’ve had the opportunity to ensure your profile is accurate, you can dive in and identify your profile’s strengths and maybe even a few weaknesses. Knowing what your credit profile looks like now will help you plan to build a stronger profile if it’s weak or make repairs if you’ve got a less-than-perfect profile.
  3. Review your personal credit profile: For most small business owners, it’s also important to regularly review your personal credit profile for mistakes or inaccuracies (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion are the three biggest personal credit bureaus). For some lenders, your personal credit score will play a significant role in how your creditworthiness is evaluated, so it’s important to know what your score is, how it could impact your ability to access borrowed capital, and any action you can take to boost your score.
  4. Strengthen your online security profile: Taking a few simple actions will help make your personal information safer online and start the year off right. Start by changing your online passwords—making sure you don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. It makes it easier to hack into your bank account if you use the same password for your Facebook and other accounts.
  5. Start monitoring your bank and credit accounts daily: Online tools make it easy to see the status of your accounts. Keeping a daily tab on your accounts will help you protect your business from identity theft, by catching things early. This became a real target for fraudsters in 2015 and daily monitoring will help you make sure nothing is slipping through the cracks and your business identity is safe. It will also give you a daily feel for the performance of your business.
  6. Be careful using public WiFi: One of the least secure networks you can access with your sensitive data is the public WiFi at restaurants, coffee shops, the airport, or other public places. Make sure you know the security risks of using any public WiFi networks and avoid sharing private information on those networks.

These six things you can start doing today, are a good way to start off the year right—and they don’t require a New Year’s Resolution.