Quite frequently, as an experienced business attorney, entrepreneurs have asked me what things they need to be conscious of and be knowledgeable in when owning a business. Although many business owners are great at what they do, they do not necessarily have the know-how about business related subjects which will ultimately play an important role in their success in their business venture. As such, I have come up with a list of areas that I feel are important for any business owner to be knowledgeable in or to at least have access to experienced legal counsel, a certified public accountant and a business related insurance agent or agency.
- Business Insurance. Almost all businesses need some form of insurance to protect either themselves as owners or the company as a whole. A business owner should sit down and explore all the business insurance programs available to them consistent with their business operations and needs. Business insurance is an important part of protecting business assets and the owners from potential exposure. For example, if a company handles a lot of money, the company should consider getting employee dishonesty insurance to cover the potential exposure of an embezzlement claim.
- Government Regulations. Business owners should be cognizant of all government regulations that could affect the workplace. This includes tax, employment, and conducting business in general (e.g. licensing). Some businesses, depending on the specific industry, are more regulated than others. For example, the trucking industry might be more highly regulated by laws than perhaps a pizza establishment.
- Business Taxes. A general understanding of all taxes related to the company is important. Knowing how much tax will be assessed to businesses is as equally important as getting an understanding of when they need to be paid as well as what forms need to be filed with local, state and the federal government. Failure to pay taxes when due and in the amount due could have a serious, detrimental impact on a business.
- Business Contracts. Ultimately businesses will be doing businesses with third parties (e.g. vendors, employees, individuals, other companies, etc.), and in many of those instances, a written agreement is important to protect the interests of the business. In many instances, contracts will dictate what the parties have agreed upon.
- Intellectual Property. Protecting your name, product, slogan, or services are extremely important in business. Getting trademarks, patents, and copyrights protects you from competitors.
In my opinion, when running a business, business owners should have 3 “trusted” advisors which would include an experienced business attorney, certified public accountant and a business insurance agent or agency