17 New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs
These Are All Worthwhile Resolutions and Personal Goals.
I recently received a card wishing me a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
The start of a new year is traditionally a time to make a list of one or more new year’s resolutions to help you accomplish your personal goals.
Common new year’s resolutions are to exercise more, lose 10 pounds, spend more time with family and friends, quit smoking, eat healthier, travel to exotic places, become debt-free and save more for retirement, drink less, or read more books. These are all worthwhile resolutions and personal goals.
If, however, you are an entrepreneur, you would be remiss not to also consider the following new year’s resolutions for your business:
1) Incorporate and observe corporate formalities
Avoid exposing yourself to personal liability. Use the correct type of corporate entity to operate your business, as well as observe the necessary corporate formalities — such as not co-mingling business assets and personal assets.
2) For businesses with two or more owners, enter into an owners’ agreement
Enter into a written agreement that addresses the consequences of divorce, death, partner disagreements and changes in priorities or focus of the business.
3) Review your business plan
Review, evaluate and update your business plan to ensure it remains consistent with your business goals for both the immediate future and for the long term.
4) Formalize oral promises of business ownership to employees
Formally document agreements with employees regarding promised ownership, including specifying defined vesting schedules and ownership restrictions.
5) Protect intellectual property
Take the required steps to document and protect your trademarks, trade names, copyrights, patentable ideas, software, trade secrets and other intellectual property, including entering into agreements with all employees and independent contractors regarding assignment of intellectual property and confidentiality agreements.
6) Conduct a security audit
Ensure that your business takes appropriate steps to avoid a security breach and to implement plans for addressing a security breach when one occurs.
7) Commit oral agreements to writing
All important business arrangements, terms and conditions, and agreements should be confirmed in writing. Over time, memories differ, owners of vendors and customers change, and confusion and disagreements arise. Disputes will be avoided if all agreements are in writing.
8) Ensure that you understand important contracts
Business owners should not enter into a contract if they do not understand and agree with every provision. Do not agree to be bound by material provisions you do not understand or find acceptable.
9) Improve your contracts for critical agreements
All agreements used repeatedly by your business should be carefully reviewed by your lawyer and crafted to avoid litigation and limit the business’s potential liability.
10) Deal with issues directly and in writing
When problems arise with another party, immediately review the applicable contract, determine the appropriate actions, and document issues in writing. Failing to document issues in writing from the outset leads to misunderstandings, may result in unintentionally waiving rights and complicates resolution.
11) Deal with employee matters methodically and carefully
Do not mischaracterize employees as independent contractors, maintain a locker-room atmosphere, fail to pay required overtime wages, ignore applicable employment laws or pay employees “under the table.”
12) Enter into agreements with employees to protect the business
When appropriate, enter into non-competition, non-solicitation, confidentiality and non-competition agreements with key employees.
13) Pay taxes
Do not delay paying applicable taxes as a method for “managing cash flow.” Failing to pay income, sales and payroll taxes will result in fines, penalties and personal liability.
14) Obtain appropriate insurance coverage
Review your insurance policies and coverage with a trusted insurance agent and ensure your business is properly insured.
15 ) Hire the best professional advisers
Select and engage competent attorneys and accountants with specific experience in relevant industries that approach the relationship as team members and not by-the-hour hired guns.
16 ) Analyze and evaluate financing
Evaluate your relationship with all financing sources and the terms of your business’ existing finance and ensure your business is prepared for unexpected financial challenges and needs for capital.
17) Engage in exit planning
Operate the business to create value for the next owners and have a succession plan in place. Business owners will fail to maximize the value of the business upon a sale if the business’ success too heavily relies on too few key individuals, critical relationships, or non-assignable essential agreements
Starting off the new year with accomplishing even a couple of these resolutions will help to ensure that this year is a healthy, happy and prosperous one for your business. And, of course, accomplishing these resolutions for your business while exercising more and spending more time with family and friends will truly make this new year your best year yet.
Source: Business Journals
Patty Block, President and Founder of The Block Group, established her company to advocate for women-owned businesses, helping them position their companies for strategic growth. From improving cash flow…. to increasing staff productivity…. to scaling for growth, these periods of transition — and so many more — provide both challenges and opportunities. Managed effectively, change can become a productive force for growth. The Block Group harnesses that potential, turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses.
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