BUSINESS STRATEGY & GROWTH • February 2, 2015
2 minutes Read
It is natural to look forward, and to anticipate and plan for the direction you want your business to take in the year ahead. New ventures, new markets, new products and services, and – most important – new profit goals dance in your head, the sugarplum visions of grownups. If you want to achieve all the lofty goals you’ve set for your business, however, you will need to devote some of that attention to the mundane minutiae, without which no business can function for very long. Below, you’ll find a brief checklist of those less-than-exciting details. It is not a complete list, by any means, but it can serve as as reminder to take care of the less fun but essential elements.
Renew your corporate documents
There are documents that must be filed and kept current in order to do business legally and ensure appropriate interface with governing bodies and your customers. Depending upon the size and structure of your business, you may have a full-time staff responsible for ensuring the business’ compliance with legal registration and reporting requirements, you may retain the services of an outside firm that specializes in these matters, or you might assume the tasks yourself. No matter which manner you choose, someone must assume responsibility for seeing that all appropriate documents are generated, filed, and kept current. Depending upon the state and/or county in which your business is located, the list of required documents may include, but not be limited to:
• Articles of Incorporation
• Certificate of Incorporation
• Consent of Agent
• Fiscal reports
• Professional certification
• Stock Ledger
• Facility permits and licenses
• Federal oversight compliance documents
• Technical certifications and licenses
• Local code compliance certificates
Renew your business license
Business licensure is essential to ensure that your business is in compliance with all local, county, state, and federal regulations for operating a business. While a license does not guarantee that a business is viable or even competent, it does at least offer a level of assurance that the business meets a minimum standard of integrity and professional ability. And while licensing fees might seem high, and in places even exorbitant, the penalties for operating without a current license can be astronomical. Make certain that your license doesn’t lapse or expire, because re-applying can prove to be both time consuming and costly. Municipalities maintain personnel to assist business owners in determining what licenses, operating permits, and certifications are required. There are also private consulting companies and individuals available who are well-versed in your locale’s unique licensing requirements, and who will, for a reasonable fee, assist you in ensuring that it is maintained in a current, active status.
Pay your taxes
Everybody grumbles about taxes, but they are essential for the establishment and enforcement of standards every business depends on for a smooth operation. If you believe that the valuation of your business, upon which some taxes are based, is inaccurate, you have the right to request a review. In some cases, when you can clearly establish that a discrepancy exists, your tax liability may be significantly reduced. Again, this is an area where you might do well to engage the services of a professional to assist you in more credibly making your case with the taxing authority.
By ensuring that your various business documents, licenses, and certifications are systematically filed, renewed, and revised, and that your taxes are paid, you maintain a good professional relationship with the governing bodies that have authority over businesses in your locale, and avoid what can prove to be costly, even devastating interruptions to your business’ operation. Failure to maintain that relationship can result in penalties, fines, and in extreme cases, criminal action against your company or even you personally.
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