For savvy small business owners looking ahead to 2018, right now is a great opportunity to set some New Year resolutions for your business. These four resolutions will help you proactively improve your business and set yourself up for a successful new year.
First, you should take an honest assessment of what worked for your business in the past year and what needs improvement. One easy way to evaluate your business’s successes and failures over the past year is to look at your business plan’s goals and projections. Updating your business plan based on your reflections of the past year is a great way for your business to transition into the new year. Don’t have a business plan? Right now is a great time to create one to help chart your business’s course towards success. For an added bonus: give your business and employees something to work toward by defining your business mission, vision, and values! (See ours here).
Have a meeting or touch base with your accountant, financial adviser, attorney, or business consultant. These business professionals can help you better identify what was successful for your business over the past year, spot hidden weakness, and planning opportunities. This is especially important so you can get up to speed on the new tax laws and the new Minnesota LLC laws - both starting in 2018.
While you are reviewing the other aspects of your business now is a great time to put a succession plan in place. Do you know who will run your business if you or a business member becomes disabled, retires, divorces, or dies? Are you thinking about stepping back from your role, or thought about the future role family members will play in your business? The best time to plan for both the foreseen and unforeseen changes for your business is when everyone is healthy and thinking clearly.
A properly drafted estate plan can help you ensure that your business is able to continue operating in the event of your death or incapacity, preserving the value for your heirs and loved ones. A succession plan and an estate plan can help minimize disputes and provide a path for your business to continue to operate successfully. If you already have an estate or succession plan in place, review it to identify needed changes.
Minnesota law requires businesses filed with the state, such as LLCs, to keep current records of their business. Make sure that your filings with the Minnesota Secretary of State are current and accurate. Importantly, make sure you are following the required formalities when conducting your business. Not following the required formalities can cause your business to lose its limited liability protection making your personal assets liable. (See our post on properly maintaining your LLC).
For LLCs, 2018 is an especially important year for owners to review their bylaws and operating agreements because of a change in Minnesota law. Beginning on January 1, 2018, all existing LLCs will be subject to the new Minnesota LLC statute under 322C. There are a number of significant changes to the way an LLC operates under the new statute than under the old statute. Members of a Minnesota LLC should review their governing documents to be sure they reflect the actual way the business operates. (See our post on the new LLC statute).
Adopting these four resolutions is a great way to help continue or improve your business’s success into the New Year.
Ward & Oehler wishes you a happy New Year and continued success for your business!
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