Spring is the season for a fresh start. The dreaded Tax Day has come and gone and you have hopefully taken a post-paperwork breather to refresh yourself. Why not use that renewed energy and momentum to get organized in other areas of your professional life?
Dust off your insurance compliance, service contracts, employment handbooks and other essentials. It’s a natural time to reflect on and analyze your business — where it is now, its future prospects, and how to get where you want to be.
You and your business will benefit all year long by following these five tips this spring:
1. Iron out any wrinkles in your insurance coverage
How often do you think about your insurance? For many business owners, it’s not until something goes wrong and you need it. A lot can change in a year — maybe you want to increase, or decrease, your coverage or shop around and make sure you’re still getting the best deal. Maybe you need better property insurance for your new office, or product liability insurance to shield you from personal injury claims.
Whatever the reason, it’s smart to review your insurance coverage at least once a year. Keeping up to date will make your life simpler, just as it’s easier to keep your room clean when you pick up a little each day. By spending a small amount up front for the right insurance policies for your business, you can insulate yourself from big costs down the line. If something goes wrong, you’ll rest easier knowing you’ve taken care of your employees and your customers.
2. Refresh your employee relationships
Your employees are your most valuable assets, so you want to keep them around as long as possible and benefit from their best work. To build strong relationships and limit liability, you’ll want to put employment agreements and terms of employment in writing, document company policies, and develop open lines of communication.
Take some time this month to provide employee evaluations, so all team members know where they stand and what you expect throughout the rest of the year. Also, make sure you have the right agreements in place with every employee. Keeping good records puts everyone on the same page, and it can also help you avoid the cost and hassle of employment disputes.
3. Scrub your records
It's also a good idea to go through your business documentation and clean it up to start the year’s happiest season in line with federal and state regulations. Thankfully, staying compliant doesn't take too much work – you just need to stay organized and keep good records.
Remove old paperwork, correct mistakes, and make a list of any new licenses that you will need to apply for. When you leave for your long-awaited and much-deserved cruise vacation, no matter what form your business takes, you'll know that your records are in good order (or well on their way to being corrected). Pomegranate mojitos taste a lot better when you’re not worried about paying unnecessary penalties or fines!
4. Consider remodeling
There’s no better time to reflect on your business’s identity than the season of rebirth. Deciding to incorporate or redefine your business entity can offer you a lot of tax benefits and separate your personal and company assets and liabilities.
A sole proprietorship is the most common form for small businesses to take, but is it really the best choice for your business? Calculate how much you would have to pay if you were to convert your business to a corporation or an LLC. If you are considering incorporating, doing so with a January 1 effective date can make preparing your annual financial statements less complicated — so get ahead of the game!
5. Ask for outside help
You have a million things to think about, so researching the legal nuances of each issue may not feel like a high priority. That’s why it’s important to have a relationship with a local attorney who understands your business. They can be another pair of eyes on your contracts, a trusted advisor when making legal decisions, and your best friend when it comes to staying in compliance with the state.
Lisa Honey is the business lead for Rocket Lawyer's Legal Documents business line. She left the traditional practice of law after seven years in commercial and civil litigation to join Rocket Lawyer. She's licensed in California, Texas, and Arkansas, and is thrilled to be part of a company disrupting the legal industry and making the law simple and affordable.