As the New Year begins it is often a time to look back on the previous year and set goals and plan for the upcoming year. As you do that consider these possible resolutions as a way to improve your business and stray out of legal trouble.
1 – Incorporate Your Business
An often overlooked and set aside task in starting a new business is to formally incorporate your form your business by starting a corporation or limited liability company. This simple and easy step can provide you liability protection and help protect your personal assets. It can also make your business look more legitimate and provide you added credibility to new and potential customers. If you haven’t yet formed an LLC or Corporation make it a goal for this year. It is a resolution your can accomplish and will be happy you did.
2 – Update you Company Records
If you do have a corporation or LLC formed resolve to keep your records updated and accurate. Insure that the appropriate address is on file with the Arizona Corporation Commission and make sure your annual reports and meeting minutes are complete and up to date. It is also a good time to review your bylaws, operating agreement or partnership agreement to make sure it still meets your needs and nothing needs to be changed. And if you don’t have at least one of these documents and you have a co-owner in your business make sure you get one of these documents. By meeting this resolution you will protect the liability protection you established by forming the company in the first place. This again is an easy resolution to meet either on your own or with the assistance of your attorney.
3 – Develop a Business Plan
While this is technically not legal advice it is one of the best things you can do for your business. The business plan puts your goals and projections on paper and gives you a way to track and measure you results. It will help you to focus your business and achieve better results. I also believe that this focus will help you reduce disputes and potential legal costs, so in that regard it can be good legal advice as well.
4 – Meet with your Advisors
One important step you can take in your business is to develop a good team of advisors and assistants to help you with your business. Some people to consider including on that team are a good accountant, financial advisor, business consultant, and an attorney. Make a point of meeting with these people at least once in the year to make sure you business is on track and current on all the latest trends and highlights.
5 – Resolve to Resolve
While this may seem unusual for a lawyer to give you this advice, I highly recommend making a resolution to resolve your disputes if at all possible. Many business people get caught up in disputes and the preoccupation with the disputes takes away from their ability to run the business and make the business profitable. Whenever possible try to resolve the matter on your own and if you can not, look first to mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution. Only if the matter can not be resolved should litigation be considered. Also, never fight a dispute simply on principle, it will be one of the most expensive decisions you will ever make.
6 – Make Time for You
In the New Year resolve to take time for you and your family. Remember you are more than just a business owner and your life can not be just about work. Take time for your family, get involved in a service organization or just spend time relaxing and doing other things you enjoy. It will make you more balanced a better business person. It will also prevent you from needing to hire a family law attorney when your better half decides you spend too much time at work.
While this list is certainly not an exhaustive list these simple resolutions can help keep you out of legal troubles and help make your business more successful. We wish you continued success for you and your business in this upcoming year.
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