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By Tim Rose - Owner of The People's Bookkeeper
When starting a business, there are so many things to think of and organize. Protecting your business is one of the most vital keys that often gets overlooked by many who just don't realize the implications of not organizing their business needs effectively. As a business owner, protecting what you've worked so hard to build up over the months and years is of utmost importance, and something that we should be striving to do on a regular basis. After all, you don't want to lose everything you've work so hard for. Below are some great tips and tactics to not only protect your company, but your own life and well-being also.
Know Your Applicable Business Laws - Knowledge is power, so knowing proper business laws that are applicable to your own company is vital. Every industry is different, and governed by different boards and authorities, so know your industry and what you can and cannot do. You need to familiarize yourself with the financial laws, labour laws, copyright and trademark laws, marketing laws, and advertising laws just to name a few. You don't want to use any kind of misleading ad or put your company in jeopardy because you said something you shouldn't have.
Always Have A Contract - This point cannot be stressed enough. Always get everything in writing. If you're building a new relationship with a client, partner or provider, it's so important to make sure it's put down on paper and signed by both parties. Each side is then protected and hopefully this will keep away any possibility of things turning sour if something doesn't work out.
Create A Secondary Company - Creating another company that can hold differing assets can protect those assets should your company fail for some reason. Under one umbrella, if your company went belly-up, you'd likely lose out on everything. But if you create a new company that holds your real-estate properties for example, then you won't lose them should something go wrong with your main company down the line.
Protect Your Intellectual Property - This is a vital component for so many businesses, especially for an online business that has tied up large amounts of money in website design, copyrights, trademarks, software, patents and more. As a small business owner in this realm, you need to ensure that you have taken proper steps to protect your intellectual property so that no one can steal your ideas and claim them as their own.
Get Paid By Your Clients & Customers - Nothing will stall your business faster than non-paying clients and customers. I recommend getting set up with a great payment processor and setting up automatic recurring payments for clients that pay you each month. For customers who are purchasing your goods, make sure your processor takes credit cards and debit cards online, that way you get paid very quickly. One of my favourite payment processors is Stripe. They provide an amazing payment processing system that integrates with many other software programs including QBO and Xero, my two primary choices for bookkeeping and business needs. You should be checking your aged receivables each month to keep up with what you are owed. This is also important, so you can pay your bills on time as well. You need to make sure you are getting paid, otherwise you aren't going to be around for too long.
Always Keep Records Up-To-Date - Don't be careless or indifferent with your paperwork. The CRA may come knocking one day, and you don't want to get caught not having paid proper taxes. You could face potentially huge fines and penalties that could cost you your company. There's also the cost of hiring a lawyer to defend you, which will cost a lot of money. Don't be cheap in this area, pay someone well to take care of your books, and hire a good accountant to take care of the taxes. This isn't an area to mess around with. Make sure that you get your receipts, documents and papers to your business caretakers on time. I set my own clients up with some excellent automated processes to make this part very easy on them. Ask your bookkeeper today about what they can do to help in this area, or use our contact form & send your questions to The People's Bookkeeper today and let us help you improve your business.
After reading through these tips, I really hope that you will take the time to properly research your own industry and if you've missed any of these important points, don't wait any longer. There's nothing worse than losing something you've worked so hard for. Protect yourself and your business today.