The holiday season is here and as a business owner, you're working on cranking out your 2019 Business Plans. We want to take this time to put an emphasis on things you may overlook to protect your business and prepare you for 2019. 

Our litigation attorneys are always here for our business owner clients when you have an urgent legal need or in hot water, but we also want to take a more proactive approach to prepare you for 2019.  By focusing on these items now, we can help you achieve your goals, protect your wealth, and spend time on what’s worth it.

1. Review Your Estate / Succession Plan

Estate plans are written to reflect your situation at a specific point in time. While they have some flexibility, the bottom line is that our lives continually change and unfold in ways we might never have anticipated. Your plan needs to reflect those changes, and the end of the year is the perfect time to assess your life events and what needs to be updated on your plan.  Succession Plans are also important for your business.  If you don’t have a succession plan, or if the last time you updated it was 5+ years ago, chances are your business has gone through some vast changes and could use a makeover.

Trust Law Counsel, our boutique estate planning department, helps clients with wills, trusts and business succession planning.

Ask yourself the following questions and give our Trust Law Counsel team of estate planning attorneys a call.  Read our blog about why it’s important to update your estate plan.

  • Do you have an estate plan OR succession plan for your business?

If you answered no, now is the time to start thinking about it and begin putting a plan in place.  Give us a call to set up a complimentary consultation to explore your options.

  • Is your estate plan current?

If it’s been a year, it’s time to review!  So many things can happen and change within a year, so even a quick review can be beneficial and give you peace of mind.  Give us a call—we can help.

  • Have you had any significant changes since you signed your plan?

If you’ve had a change in assets, marriage, births, adoptions, divorce, death, business partner, or other change in circumstances, these are big life events that require updates in your plan.

 

2. Make Sure Your Corporate Documents Are In Order

Are you a busy business owner juggling working IN your business and ON your business?  We get it.  We help business owners achieve their goals, protect their wealth, and spend time on what’s worth it.  One way that we help take the stress away from our business owner clients is through our Corporate Annual Maintenance Program.

This is an easy way to ensure the filing and paperwork for your business is taken care of annually and you stay in good standing with the Secretary of State.  It’s one less thing for you to worry about!

This program allows us to serve as your company’s registered agent, receive legal notices and Secretary of State notices, file all mandatory Secretary of State reports on behalf of your company and keep your company’s corporate book current through annual meeting minutes, all for a low annual flat fee. 

Take something off your plate and let us take care of it so you can focus on what matters most to you.  Give us a call today to enroll in our Corporate Annual Maintenance Program.

 

3. Update your Employee Handbook and Policies

Everyone knows that 2018 was a pivotal year in social activism and HR departments everywhere are pulling their hair out ensuring their company isn’t violating any laws or putting themselves in danger of future discrimination or harassment lawsuits.

With all the public media around employment law issues recently, now is the perfect time to take a look at your employee handbook and policies.  Laws have changed and new movements have created an urgency in updating employee policies to protect your business.

Our employment lawyers love this stuff and are happy to help you review your handbook and policies to look for gaps and areas that need revisions or added policies.  This is what we do, give us a call!

Some things to consider for your employee handbook / policies:

Do you have other documents and contracts that need to be reviewed? We help clients with purchase agreements, terms and conditions re-writes, non-competes and other contracts.

 

4. Conduct a Cybersecurity Audit

Hackers are everywhere, and national cyber threats have evolved over the past year. You want your business’s most sensitive documents and information to be protected so now is the time to do a cybersecurity audit.  Whether you have an inhouse IT team or you outsource it, this is a great way to check for gaps and holes in your system. 

To help protect our business owner clients trade secrets we hired a former FBI agent, Attorney Robert Kardell, to help you with investigations, technology and data security.

Bob has 22 years of experience with the FBI in bank fraud and cybersecurity.  He is eager and ready to help our clients secure their systems and protect their trade secrets.  Bob can work with your IT professionals to develop advanced processes and security.

Call us today to set up an appointment with Bob to schedule your cybersecurity audit before 2019!

 

5. Do a Business Valuation

Are you planning a business deal in 2019?  Maybe you’re considering selling your business or looking into buying a business.  Or maybe you’re ready to finally get that buy-sell agreement into place with your partners by year-end.  Our team of experienced business attorneys can devise a great plan for you to not only know where you’re headed, but reach your year-end goals for 2018.  Getting business plans in place, key documents drafted, and necessary agreements negotiated is not only a great feeling, it’s a great way to start 2019.

If you’re thinking about your next business deal, whether you have a full-blown plan in place or just an idea, give our team a call. In the meantime, here are some things to consider:

  • If you’re preparing to sell your business, do you know what it’s worth?

We have a FREE tool that may help you get a start on valuing your business and year-end is a great time to start your review. Download our FREE EBITDA Calculator to begin the process for evaluating your business.

  • What do you do to prepare your business to sell?

Read our blog “3 Ways to Keep Your Business Sale from Flopping” HERE; and

Read our blog “Building The Perfect M&A Team” to learn how to assemble the best team for selling your business HERE.

  • What do you look for when buying a business?

If you’re looking to buy a business, read our blog about what to look for HERE.

 

6. Conduct a Safety Audit

Is your company compliant with OSHA, EPA, and other safety related regulations impacting workplace employees? Do you know what to do when OSHA “knocks on your company door” prepared to conduct a “surprise” inspection? Do you have a company safety compliance program in place with verifiable employee training?

We work with and represent executives and safety management teams in various industries including manufacturing, agribusiness, construction, and transportation. If you don’t have a compliance plan in place or haven’t performed an internal safety audit recently, now is the time.  OSHA recently raised their maximum penalties in 2018 and it’s foreseen to possibly happen again in 2019 – Read our blog HERE.  You also don’t want to be a victim of “Triple Jeopardy” which includes both civil and criminal penalties imposed by OSHA, EPA, and federal law enforcement, dramatically  increasing your risk of personal liability, in addition to company fines and penalties that can be staggering and devastating.   Making your employees’ safety a first priority will always help protect you and your business from unnecessary workplace liability, so be smart, take your  compliance program requirements seriously, call our team, and perform a safety audit today.

Here are some additional ideas as you prepare your business activities for 2019:

  • Top OSHA Citations

Do your workers experience any of the hazards associated with these top five OSHA cited violations? Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection, and Lockout/Tagout. Addressing these top citation areas can be a good first step in re-evaluating your safety program.

  • Hazard Recognition Training

Do your key workers/supervisors have hazard recognition training that can serve as a great baseline to ensure workers have basic safety training topics covered.

  • Certificate Courses

Are there topics and hazards you know are especially risky for your workers? Make sure to train (and re-train annually!) on these topics. There are certificate training courses, which result in an official Certificate of Completion which can be a great option to complete annual or biennial training efficiently and on a budget.

  • OSHA Inspection Readiness

We created a FREE “Readiness OSHA Inspection Quiz” to help you detect if your company is prepared for a visit from OSHA.  Download the quiz HERE.

 

7. Create a Crisis Plan

If a crisis cannot be averted, do you know what to do if you get sued? Are you prepared to handle a PR nightmare that could result from an untrue or negative story?

Our team of litigation attorneys is prepared and ready to handle these situations.  Follow these steps to help you prepare when a crisis arises:

  • Do you know who to call?

If you get sued, do you know what to do? Don’t panic - call us instead. Read our blog about what to do if you get sued HERE.

  • Put a Crisis Team in Place

Who on your team is prepared to handle a crisis?  Your attorney should, without fail, be on your crisis team and depending on your industry and business, you may need to develop an entire team or teams to manage your plan in the event of a crisis.

  • Write Your Process Down and Communicate It

Document your plan and save it where your team knows how to find it.  Communicate it, train it, practice it, and know it.

 

Conclusion

As a full-service law firm in Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Omaha, we are here to help make our business owner client’s lives easier – helping you achieve your goals, protect your wealth, and spend time on what’s worth it.  Call us today to help you prepare for 2019 so you can rest and spend time with family this holiday season!

 

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