Although we are often distracted at this time of year by fun family gatherings, vacation time, and holiday cheer and events, businesses often take this time to ensure they are ready to start the new year strong. Below are several areas we suggest businesses evaluate as they plan for a successful year:
Financial goals. Your planning should evaluate your financial performance and consider if you achieved them and if not, can you pinpoint why not? Take a look at your sales performance for cyclicality or unusual trends. Compare your profit margin to industry standards to ensure you are on par. Use these insights to build a plan for next year that specifically addresses these points.
Employee incentives. As you create new goals for the company, consider the competitiveness of your employee compensation package. Do your incentives align with your company goals? Do employees know what “success” looks like? Be sure you have clear company goals and that each employee knows how their role drives success and the specific tasks expected of them. With specificity, they can take real action to help the company meet its goals.
Review changes in regulations. Look for any upcoming changes in federal, state, and local regulations that impact your business. For instance, Washington State businesses are now required to comply with a new Paid Family Medical Leave Act in 2019. Often your advisors, such as your CPA and attorney, have insights into such changes. Make it a practice to ask them a few times per year what is coming down the pike for compliance so you’re not caught off guard. Once you’re aware of these, be sure you notify key people in your company so that you are ahead of the curve for the new year.
Record keeping. Year-end is a good time to ensure your corporate record keeping is in order, including formalizing corporate minutes. It can be a tedious task but it is essential for liability protection.
Contract Maintenance. Ensuring you have key contracts in place is another formality that is better done sooner rather than later. Contracts often have notice requirements for renewal or changes that occur effective on January 1. Inventory your contracts and get ahead of any changes that might occur in the new year. If you have important relationships where contracts aren’t in place (that sublease, partnership, graphic designer), get those done so you are sure your rights can be enforced if needed.
A little housekeeping can create a strong, focused beginning to the new year. Happy Holidays!
Equinox is also providing two FOCUS Events in December covering essential legal updates for your business. We will have a portion of the seminar devoted to the new Washington State Paid Family Medical Leave requirements. If you would like to attend our Federal Way December 5th event click here. If you would like to attend out December 11th Focus event in Bellevue, click here.