As the end of the year approaches, many business owners are focused on booking revenues. But there’s more to consider. Deborah Gonzalez, Esq., an intellectual property attorney and founder of Law2sm, LLC (a legal firm helping its clients navigate the digital and social media world), provides some helpful advice.
End of Year Clean-up and Recap by Deborah Gonzalez, Esq.
Where did this year go? It seems incredible how quickly the months have flown by as we have been busy doing our work, growing our businesses, expanding our networks and connections, as well as putting out fires, resolving problems, surviving crisis, and everything we’ve been doing. Whew! I’m tired just reading through that list. But as we get to the end of the year and the beginning of the holiday season, things tend to slow down and we have a bit of time on our hands. Not to be idle this is the perfect time to do some reflection on our past year and complete some tasks we may have been putting off as well as clean-up a bit after ourselves and put things in order for the new year.
Prepare for the Recap
Make an appointment with yourself for an afternoon, morning, day or weekend – give yourself at least 4 uninterrupted hours. You can also set it up as an appointment with a colleague of yours who may need to do the same thing. Be strict with yourselves though – this is not a social event, but down and dirty work.
Bring that folder or notebook of yours where you’ve been collecting ideas and interesting items you wanted to read or explore more to help with your business.
Make sure to have your laptop, computer tablet, etc.
Bring paper, pens, and other supplies you may need.
Bring snacks – cheese, fruit, crackers, or whatever else sounds good.
Checklist of End-of-Year Tasks
Update contacts (business and personal) – this will also help prepare you for sending out the holiday greetings (whether by snail mail or e-card)
Compile and organize expense receipts.
Compile and organize tax documents.
Update your accounting /bookkeeping software with the above if you do it on your own. If not this is a good time to have a status update with your CPA or accountant.
Review and organize files – go through and take out of the file drawers files you have not used for a while. Throw away what is not necessary and put the rest in a bottom drawer or a box and take to storage.
Make new “2013” files.
Write up your business goals for the New Year.
Write up your social media goals for the New Year.
Update your social media profiles – new photos, edit your profile narrative, add new accomplishments.
Review your social media contacts, followers, friends, etc. Weed out those who are no longer relevant.
Create a development plan for yourself and include things you want to learn more about, conferences or workshops you would like to attend, people you would like to meet, etc.
End of Year Legal Review
Do you have an attorney to advise you on your business?
If you do are you satisfied with them? Need to research and find another?
Are all your business formation issues complete?
Name/ “DBA” Doing Business As
Decide on Entity Structure: Sole Proprietorship, LLC, S Corp, etc.
Registration with Secretary of State/Registered Agent (Change of address)
Business License/Permits with County
Federal EIN – Employer Identification Number
Are all your financial issues in check?
Are you pleased with your current bank? Do you need to research and find another?
Is your bank account signatories correct or must they be updated?
Are you content with your merchant account or do you want to explore an alternative payment system like Square or PayPal?
On a personal note – are your financial affairs in order?
Are all your insurance needs covered? (Property, liability, vehicle, medical, worker’s compensation)
Do you have any contracts that need to be reviewed, modified, renewed or terminated? (Vendors, service providers, independent contractors, leases, loans, confidentiality and/or non-disclosure agreements, employee agreements)
Are your intellectual property assets protected? (Trademark logo, copyright of content, trade secrets)
Is your business in compliance with laws and regulations of your industry, your state, your county? (regulated industries, environmental laws, worker safety laws, consumer protection laws, advertising laws, employment laws)
Do you have a Risk Management Plan? (website disclaimers, privacy policies, social media community guidelines, contingency/disaster/crisis plans, data protection and security)
And let’s not forget the last thing on the list – celebrate another amazing year in business! Where’s the party?
This list may seem long but it is not meant to be exhaustive or legal advice. It is offered for educational purposes only to give you some starting points to ensure that you enter 2013 ready for business and free from liability.
Deborah Gonzalez, Esq. is an intellectual property attorney and founder of Law2sm, LLC, a legal firm helping its clients navigate the digital and social media world. Check out our website and drop us a line – let us know how we can help you be “socially legal.” www.law2sm.com