It’s the beginning of a new year (good riddance, 2020), and it’s time to set some intentions and goals for yourself and your business. While you make your long list of “resolutions” that we know you’ll keep this year, consider adding these goals for your business in 2021:
1. Review your operating agreement or bylaws that govern your business. If your business is an LLC, you need an operating agreement. If your business is a corporation, you need bylaws. If your business is a sole proprietorship or general partnership, consider changing its structure. Does your operating agreement or bylaws have the following?
A buyout provision for owners/partners/members/shareholders who leave the business;
A provision that states clearly what will happen if you or another owner dies or becomes incapacitated;
Updated and current membership interests or ownership information;
Current addresses and contact information for the business and all its owners;
Provisions about the management of the entity and the rights and responsibilities of the manager(s); and
A process for dissolving the business.
2. Review and evaluate all your contracts and business agreements. Is everything in all your contracts still relevant? Do you understand them (they should be in plain English)? Have you encountered any issues with them? Do they properly protect your personal and business interests? Do you have contracts and written agreements for every transaction for your business? Are there any changes in the laws or regulations you need to incorporate?
3. Review and update your website language. Make sure your website has the following:
Copyright notice; and
Any necessary disclaimers or disclosures.
4. Create or review your estate plan. Is your business set up in a way that your estate will receive your ownership interest without having to go through a cumbersome, expensive probate process in one or more states? If you aren’t clear about how your estate plan and business are connected and how those you leave behind might be affected, talk to an estate planning attorney in 2021.
5. Protect your business name or trademark your brand. If you have not registered your business name in your state, that should be one of the first steps you take in 2021. Registering a trademark for your business name isn’t isn’t something every business owner must do (many names can’t be trademarked), but it is definitely something to consider if you are building a brand you want to protect. Your brand can be your company’s most valuable asset, but it’s worthless if you don’t register the trademark. Registering a trademark provides you with the right to (1) be the only business in the nation to use that name or mark, (2) keep others from using your name, (3) collect damages from those that infringe on your trademark, and (4) monetize your trademark.
If you have any questions about how to protect your business in 2021, contact us. We wish you a healthy, happy, safe, and successful year!