A Legal Checkup for Your Business
The only constant is change. Though many entrepreneurs prepare for change in our personal lives, we are often under-prepared when it comes to business. Many of us, at the inception of our businesses, sought necessary legal advice on how to organize and navigate our respective industries. However, some of us, years later, continue to follow the same policies and practices we created when we opened our doors. Laws change over time just as our business and personal needs change. There is no time like the present to review the goals, needs, and legal standards for your business.
First, it is important to review the legal structure of your business. Does the current structure allow you to maximize tax benefits and protect your assets from lawsuits? Does it support your ability to raise revenue? Will it allow the succession planning necessary to create a legacy? Keep in mind, state laws vary and they change over time.
Are the original decision-makers still in place? Your business’s governing documents should be reviewed regularly. Rarely do we follow the specific paths we once carved out. Operating agreements providing guidelines for member interactions do not always work as expediently as anticipated. Owners may have to unexpectedly relocate away from their primary place of business. What are the considerations for succession or dissolution upon events such as these?
Do you have the insurance coverage and safety nets in place to protect your company and its officers and directors? Insurance coverage is complex. It is necessary to pay attention to the changing needs of the organization, employees, and owners to ensure the basics are covered and all legal requirements are met.
The size of your business may have increased over the years. Growth should be welcomed with the priority of continuing legal compliance. The Family Medical Leave Act and the Affordable Care Act, for instance, impose varying requirements on differently sized entities.
The legal standards of discrimination are being heightened throughout the nation. Employee benefits should be reviewed not just in light of minimum compliance standards, but in light of the values of the company and the personnel you want to attract.
Long term contracts and forms established for clients may become outdated because they no longer comply with the laws. They should be reviewed annually. Avoiding litigation is far more effective than successfully defending against it.
Nothing is stagnant. The laws change as well as the business operations change. Stay current, mindful and protected.
Washington Informer Article – August 2015
Photo Credit – ilovesmlbiz.com.au