If you’re a business owner hoping for a more prosperous 2015, there are a few legal factors you should consider. From new legislation to the protection of assets, the following are tried-and-true tips to tighten up the legal reigns on your business this year.
Review Business Agreements and Contracts
Nothing is more crucial to the security of your business than the language of your contracts and business agreements. Contracts serve two essential purposes: 1) they provide adequate protection of your business assets and 2) they ensure you and your vendors are in compliance with formerly-stated terms. Non-compliance can lead to a lawsuit or cause you to lose the business relationship.
Update Your Insurance Coverage
Another essential asset to any functional business is adequate insurance coverage. A host of policies are needed to protect your employees and yourself, such as workers compensation, property insurance, liability insurance, fraud coverage and protection, and many more. Consider hiring an insurance professional to review your current policies and revise coverage as needed. As business circumstances frequently change, your policies will need to be updated to meet your personal needs and market conditions.
Comply with the Affordable Care Act
Remember the Affordable Care Act? That little piece of healthcare legislation that received global attention last year. Well, that legislation sprang into action this year. Unless you have 100 or more full-time employees, this won’t require immediate action. But if you’re a mid-size company, with 50-100 full-time workers on your payroll, you will have to provide healthcare next year. This is the time to start planning for that change.
Plan for Taxes
Even with all your other ducks in a row, taxes can provide an unexpected hit to your annual profits. But with proper planning and professional advice, you can implement tax strategies and other actions that will significantly reduce your annual contributions to Uncle Sam. Consider hiring a tax professional to review your federal, state and local tax liabilities.
Revise Safety and Harassment Guidelines
Every year, employers should pay special attention to their policies on workplace discrimination and safety prevention. These are sensitive issues that can and will cause costly legal problems. For that reason, it is crucial to have policies in place that will prevent a lawsuit rather than provoke one. Even better, create a plan on how to root out problems before they start, and always write your policies to place responsibility on the shoulders of the employee, not your company.
With all these legalities affecting both your daily operations and your bottom line, an in-house legal expert might be worth the investment. But if there is just no room in the budget for a full-time lawyer, consider hiring a legal consultant. An experienced business lawyer can fine-tune your policies to create a stronger and more profitable legal foundation.