Holiday parties in December – fun for all! Unless the management team huddles in a conference room squaring taxes and talking business as everyone else solemnly sips eggnog. Make sure the entire team relaxes and enjoys the celebrations: kick off a three-month plan, launching in October and wrapping up in mid-December, to put business in order before year’s end.

In October, prepare to shrug off unexpected physical setbacks in the new year. Touch base with restoration specialists to discuss business processes, physical plants, management contact details and risk factors. The right specialist is specifically equipped to handle business catastrophes. For instance, the Paul Davis First Priority Program launches restoration immediately following fires, floods, storms and the like at commercial locations. Working seamlessly with your facilities professionals, programs like these minimize staff, customer and revenue disruption while quickly normalizing your company’s operations.

This month also, develop year-end financial plans with your CPA or Accounting Department. Each business is different, so it’s tough to recommend specific strategies like accelerating expenses into the current year or making investments prior to December 31. The biggest priority is getting professional advice from those who know your business the best, and beginning to plan financial timelines, responsibilities and reporting.

It’s November and an excellent time to get next year’s marketing plan in place. Aim to complete a plan before the end of the month that leverages early 2019 events and holidays like college football playoffs, Valentine’s Day and any other special celebrations in your region. Many companies, scrambling at year’s end, fail to capitalize on these excellent marketing opportunities.

Because October’s accounting advice likely advised minimizing inventory by year’s end, now’s the time to make sure inventory has picked up the pace as it goes out the door. Contrary to popular opinion, inventory usually is not a tax deduction. It’s also expensive to carry and takes up space that new inventory will occupy come January (which is coming faster than you think). Also this month, begin organizing paperwork to support the year’s pending tax returns.

Come December, begin positioning your business for success in the new year. List and share successes, challenges and missed opportunities as a group and individually with the management team. What went well and what didn’t? Who excelled? Did you meet your goals? What are next year’s objectives? Which employees made 2018 a great year? December is the month to appreciate your entire workforce as well as its star performers. Now is also a great time to back up company data.

Finally, enjoy those holiday gatherings and don’t talk business. With the three-month plan coming to a close by mid-December, there’s time to relax, focus elsewhere and build camaraderie.