2021 will (thankfully for many) quickly be in your rearview mirror as you trek forward into the year to come. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe it’s already December. At other times, it seems like the end of a long slog through quicksand. Before the fireworks, however, it’s time to take a moment and look at where you stand.

Are you prepared for a new year? You might have your sparkly hat and glass of champagne at the ready, but what can you do to make sure your business is prepared? The better you evaluate your position at this point, the better poised you’ll be to take on a new year’s worth of challenges. Think of it as limbering up before a marathon.

Outside of making sure your books are in order and your inventory is stocked, there are other ways to get ready. Take a deeper look into your holdings. Are they performing as well as they could be? Maybe you have excess working capital to invest or a loan that’s draining your cash flow. Gentle tweaks to your financial planning make big differences in your business’s performance. For any change, big or small, there’s a tool you can use to make it easier.

Start your year-end planning by asking yourself a few simple questions. They can help jumpstart ideas you didn’t know you had. Make it your goal to thrive in the new year.

Are you in the right location?

It’s always a good idea to stop and ask yourself how you got where you are today. Does it still fit with your future goals, or is it just “alright for now?” That can mean doing a bit of introspection, but it’s also quite literal. Does your business exist in a space on the map that benefits it the most?

If the answer to that is a resounding negative, consider moving to a more ideal workspace or retail location. A bridge loan could be the tool that helps you make that change. If you wait to sell your current space to finance the move, you won’t have much time to transfer to the new location. And what if you sell before you have a place to relocate to?

A bridge loan gives you the funds to put a cash offer on the ideal new property. You can accelerate your moving time and eliminate uncertainty. Move in and set up, then put your former property on the market. Once the old place sells, use part of those funds to pay off the bridge loan and you’re done with the move! Now, if only a bridge loan could help you pack.

Do you have the right mix of investment properties?

As much as you might like them to be, investment properties aren’t a “fix it and forget it” income generator. They need to be nourished and maintained. When it comes to investment properties, you should be evaluating their performance on the regular. Measure the market and see if you need to adjust your tenant charges to match. Maybe you can make more money in the new year with a small investment upfront.

Get more out of your investment properties. Force appreciation with upgrades or renovations to attract more business. Hard money loans, bridge loans, and working capital loans can give you the funds you need for contractors and materials. Then, watch your investment grow year over year.

If your properties are already performing at their peak, consider expanding your holdings. Commercial real estate financing lets you onboard new property without tapping into your savings. Whether it’s moving your headquarters to a better neighborhood or adding a new hotel to your portfolio, CRE financing is your answer.

Does your loan cost too much?

If bringing new property into the mix isn’t in your New Years’ plans, lowering the cost of the property you do have should be. Take a look at any loans you have and ask yourself if they’re outdated. How can a loan be outdated? The company that qualified for that loan years ago may not be the company it is today.

You’re more experienced, have new clients, and a different credit score than you might have had when you first applied. That means you might qualify for a better loan. So take the opportunity to ditch the old one and get a lower interest rate on a new loan. Refinancing can free up the cash you’re spending on interest so you can invest it elsewhere.

Refinancing is not the same as restructuring, although they’re often confused. Restructuring is like moving the furniture around your living room. Things look different, but it’s still the same room. Refinancing, on the other hand, is like moving that furniture to a new, bigger room where you have more space to breathe.

Are you positioned for future financing?

Your history is important, but so is your future. Think about how far you’ve come, but imagine how far you’ll go. If you take steps now to improve your business’s credit future, you’ll be better positioned for financing later. Then, when you need it the most, you’ll be able to borrow at lower interest rates and qualify for unsecured loans.

Better credit isn’t just about paying down debt. It’s more about when you pay than what. Paying off and then closing your accounts can impact your credit in a bad way. That’s because it changes your credit utilization and the average age of your open accounts. Keeping an eye on your credit report lets you spot errors that could be getting in your way. You’ll also be alert to any negative impacts like hard inquiries or legal actions. Correcting these problems will bump up your score.

A savvy broker will be able to guide you in the right direction when you’re thinking about credit repair. Part of building relationships with lenders is knowing to who they give their best rates. A broker can use this insight to give you an advantage the next time you apply for a business loan.

As you wave goodbye to this year, don’t forget that you have the power to make the next one even better. Get in touch with your loan specialist to see what you can add to your toolbox. Make it the year that you surpass your sales goals, land the big contracts, and dream even bigger than you have before. That is after you recover from the office party.