This guest post is brought to you by WePay – the easiest way to accept credit cards online.

Where is your small business headed? We all have grand dreams for our companies and big plans to see them through. However, just how sure are you that the plan you have is going to come off without a hitch?

If you’re not looking ahead, you’re likely to get blindsided by even the smallest setback. One bump in the road and suddenly your plan for the future takes a completely different turn. It happens to businesses all the time and the worst-case scenario can see you shutting your doors forever!

Instead of getting blindsided, go through the following checklist to get a head start on the rest of your business life. Do you know…?

Where the Money Goes

Do you have a bead on where all your money goes every month? Just how much are you spending on supplies, rent and gas money for trips? Until you know the particulars of your budget you really don’t have a firm grasp on your company. Simply understanding where all your money goes can separate you from 99% of other business owners.

Who My Best Customers Are

Another aspect of your business you should master is who butters your bread – who are your best customers and why do they love you so much? Truly understanding why certain people love your product more than others can make a huge difference in your wallet. Now you know what niche to attack and where to focus your marketing efforts.

What My Weaknesses Are

No business owner likes to sit and think about how much they stink. If you don’t look at your flaws, though, they will absolutely sneak up on you and nip you in the rear. You may not automatically fix everything, but understanding your shortcoming will allow you to predict bigger problems before they happen. If you’re not very detail-oriented, for example, you can turn down nit-picky gigs instead of suffering through them.

How People Find Me

You’ve put ads up online, sent out samples to locals, spent hours on social media pages, and done lots of community service in the name of your business. So – which avenue brought you the most business? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. Then you can build up that marketing channel even more so your audience continues to grow. Do a survey or use a tool like Google Analytics to track how prospects found you and decided to become a customer.

It’s Easy for People to Pay Me

How many forms of payment do you accept? If you’re sticking to just cash and checks, then somewhere down the road you’re probably going to have a problem. As it has become the norm to accept credit cards online, companies that don’t provide easy ways to get make payments may see a dip in sales and cash flow. The last thing you want to do is appear outdated. If you’re not accepting credit cards these days, you might as well ask for payment in Confederate dollars via carrier pigeon.

I Have an Endpoint

As a small business owner, you may daydream about amazing wealth and success. Whether that day comes or not, at some point you will have to figure out what to do with the business. What’s the end you have in mind for your endeavor? Sell it off? Retire from it? Close it in five years and pursue something new? The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you can direct your company in that direction.

How many items did you check off the list? Which one do you need to work on?

If you enjoyed this post, check out another great article by the team at WePay: “How Do I know if I’m Over- or Under-Promoting Online?