With the holidays over and a new year upon us, it is a natural time for business owners to map out strategies and goals for the next twelve months. Doing so allows businesses a chance to focus their energies on having a successful 2012 and gives them a metric by which to measure their successes and locate opportunities for improvement at the end of the year. Here are three suggestions that will assist businesses in planning for the year ahead

Review your business plan. A business plan helps businesses create goals, track progress, and ensure accountability. This is a living document that is the roadmap for your company’s performance. It should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis as circumstances change and built-in assumptions prove correct or incorrect.

Review contracts. The beginning of the year is a good time to review your businesses relationships with vendors and other third parties. One way to do this is to review the contracts your company has with these parties. Are you receiving satisfactory performance under your contracts? Are the prices and other terms acceptable in light of your experience operating under the contract last year?

Review corporate compliance. Owners of corporations, limited liability companies and other limited liability entities should make sure that they are operating in compliance with their governing documents to ensure that they retain limited liability. The regular observance of corporate formalities is an important aspect of maintaining the protections and advantages of being incorporated, not the least of which is the protection of shareholders against personal liability for the financial obligations of the corporation. In addition, owners should make sure they have filed their most recent tax returns, annual reports and similar filings so that the company is in good standing and qualified to do business.