April is always that time of year that starts out with pranks and hopefully ends with beautiful weather here in the US. April is also a perfect time between the excitement of the Holidays and the bustle of Summer to look at your business.
When I first started practicing law and setting up businesses I would always include a calendar of events and meeting minutes but tried to come up with some unique way to get businesses to REMEMBER that each year maintenance (both physical and paper) needed to take place with a business. April fit! It is right around tax time, it’s in the first months of the year, it’s during a usual slow time for most businesses and who doesn’t know about Spring Cleaning!
While this is not an exhaustive list – here a few Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Business!
Tammy’s Tips So You Don’t Get Fooled!
Have an Annual Meeting for Your Business!
The annual meeting for any business is a must. It doesn’t have to be formal but it does have to take place. A meeting can just be with one person (YOU) or others depending on the structure of your business. The meeting does not have to take long but should include review of your founding business documents, bank accounts, and any changes to the business.
Honestly, an annual meeting for some COULD be finding your business formation paperwork and making up minutes to match your first meeting of your corporate entity. The key is that you set up your business, you must care for it.
It doesn’t matter if your business is 40 years old or 40 days old, set a fixed dated (remember I love April 1) and review your business documents. There are significant legal consequences if you don’t. And if you need help – ASK! Google! Talk to the person who set up your business! Call your CPA (After April 18 of this year preferably), Call Your Attorney, Call a Fellow Businessperson! It should take an hour or less…but the key is find out what you need to do and DO IT!
Please remember – this reminder is for educational purposes only – please seek your own legal advice on the annual requirements of your business! We are encouraging you to do so!
Take an Inventory of the Physical Property of Your Business!
Inventory strikes the FEAR in many a retailer! However, I’m talking about an inventory of your business – your computers, equipment, supplies, etc. And it is as easy as this –
Take your cell phone and walk around your office and VIDEO everything – open all your drawers, doors, boxes, etc. Make commentary as you go. And DO NOT worry about the organizational or cleanliness status of your office. The only time someone would potentially ever see this video is if a disaster strikes.
A few years ago, my brother in law and sister in law were caught in a hurricane evacuation situation with little time to spare. While talking to him on the phone we came up with this quick idea to document what he had in case he lost everything. The video was not needed but the idea has never left me.
Close your eyes for a minute and see if you could name everything on your desk. How about your storage closet? Now imagine it being 5-10 days later, you’ve under stress and what you need to account for is destroyed. Let’s be honest – you couldn’t do it. You couldn’t name EVERYTHING you needed to replace for insurance, customers/clients, etc.
Some of my clients and friends take a video every month, some every quarter and some annually. The key is that it becomes a pattern and that it is backed up on your phone, offsite and even a thumb drive if possible. Something that can just take 5-10 minutes can save A LOT of time and money.
A Business will never know when it may need an inventory. A physical list inventory is always preferred but there has to be a place to start! SO, GET OUT THOSE PHONES AND VIDEO!
Back Up Your Digital Files and CHECK the Back Up!
I know I am not telling you anything new! Every computer owner has heard of or experienced horrific events regarding data loss whether it be a phone, computer, tablet, etc. Honestly, in this day and age – as a business owner – your livelihood depends on your ability to access your data. Most of us are complacent with our “automatic backup” from a third-party service. If you’re like me, I’m always checking my green button to make sure it is lit up and backing up items. However, most people don’t realize it can take days or weeks to restore what data you lost…if at all.
I recommend the Power of 3! This is especially true if you have client/customer data. What are the 3?
Offsite, Commercial Third Party – DAILY
This could be a cloud service, third party back up, etc. It is important to make sure you have your cloud drive backed up on land – what if the cloud drive goes down? This should be done daily.
Physical Back Up Drive On Site – DAILY
This is used for quick access if necessary. This would be held in a secure location. This should be done daily.
Physical Back Up Drive Off Site – MONTHLY/QUARTERLY
This third step may be considered “excessive” for some, but I have seen more than once someone must go to a safety deposit box or a relative’s home that has a safe and get the physical back up. This third back up does not have to be done daily. However, it should be done either monthly or quarterly.
LAST STEP – MAKE SURE THE BACK-UPS WORK! At least once a year every business should check its backups making sure there are not corrupted files, at least one person in the business knows to how to restore data, etc. It’s great to have backups but its miserable to have backups that don’t work.
Once again, this doesn’t take a lot of time. The step of checking your backups could be as easy as calling your IT Professional and saying – “Hey, are you still checking our backups?” Now, in a lot of cases it would be someone calling a youth or teen to ask them how it’s done! However, at the end of the day – CHECK YOUR BACK UPS!
Thank you for indulging a legal type person who has seen the heartache that happens when a business fails to Spring Clean! This is not only a reminder to all of you but also our firm as well! So, make an appointment for yourself, for your business, for your livelihood and perform a little Spring Cleaning!
Wishing you great success!
PS – And while you are cleaning, organize those copyrights for registration – we have another installment coming right up!