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Tips for Fourth Quarter Business Review

As we enter the last quarter of 2021, it’s important to start thinking about what you should be doing to evaluate your business for this year. Part of that evaluation is reviewing various documents your business (hopefully) has and uses to make sure they are up to date and if they need to be revised. We recommend conducting this review earlier on in the fourth quarter so that if you do have things that need to be updated or revised, you can have it done by the end of the year and start the new year prepared!

We recommend that you review the following documents:

1. Business Plan. Does your business have a written business plan? If so, it’s likely that you have not looked at it since the beginning of the year, if at all! We recommend reviewing this plan, especially if you have been in business for a while, and seeing where you are on your journey. Does the plan need to be updated? Are you where you thought you would be at this point? Maybe things have changed and your plan needs to be revised. Or, maybe you are right on track so you can do a quick review and put it away until next year. Whatever the case may be, check it out to see whether it needs to be updated.

2. Employee Policies. We talk all of the time about how important it is to have a written employee handbook with your business’s policies clearly stated. The fourth quarter is a great time to review your policies, especially given the state of the world today and all that is changing with vaccine mandates, etc. Are you thinking about hiring? Maybe your business is expanding and you will be onboarding new employees. Whatever your situation might be, review all of your policies and make sure they are up to date. If they are not, right now is a great time to update them.

3. Confidentiality Agreements. If you have proprietary information that your employees have access to, and you have a confidentiality agreement that they are required to sign, it’s important to review this agreement annually. If anything has changed in your business in the past year, and there is something that should be added to your confidentiality agreement, do it now.

4. Non-Disclosure and Non-Compete/Non-Solicitation Agreements. Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements have been the subject of an increasing amount of litigation over the past several years. Each state has specific laws regarding these agreements so it’s important to make sure that if you have a standard Non-Disclosure, Non-Compete and/or Non-Solicitation Agreement that you have been using for a while, review it to make sure it is still appropriate and enforceable.

5. Employment Contracts. Do you have a standard employment contract that you use? Has anything changed in your business in the past year that would require a change in your employment contract? Now is a good time to review terms of employment, job descriptions, restrictive covenants (to the extent they are not the subject of a separate agreement) and compensation provisions.

6. Template Contracts. If you use template contracts for your business, it’s important to make sure that these documents are up to date. If your terms and conditions have changed, or something about the service your business provides has changed, reviewing your templates can keep you from using an outdated contract.

When you are running a business, it’s hard to take time out for tasks that don’t appear to be income producing and can, quite frankly, be daunting. And, if you don’t love the administrative part of running a business, you might do everything you can to avoid these daunting tasks! But, it’s so important to make reviewing your business’s most important documents part of your routine each year. It may seem like it’s a waste of time and money to take time out to review these documents, but the comfort and protection it gives you, and your business, is priceless.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls and communications. Contacting us, however, does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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