The end of the year is approaching and the time to prepare for a successful 2017 will rapidly disappear. Beyond holiday parties, this is a great time of year for companies to take stock and address any challenge areas. Here are 4 things every company can do to lay the foundation for a strong 2017:

1.Update Governance Documentation

Calendar year-end may also mean changes within the structure of the company. Not documenting these changes can have long-term effect on the company or the owners. Taking time when or before these changes occur can make it easier to stay on top of the governance issues. Events triggering a need to update governance documents includes things like:

  • Bringing on new members
  • Exiting the company
  • Borrowing operating capital
  • Conversion of the entity (i.e. from LLC to corporation, corporation to LLC)

2.Review Contracts

Year-end can also be the time when many contracts with customers and vendors expire. Each contract is different but not every contract will automatically renew without the parties signing a new agreement. There may also not be a lot of room to negotiate in each situation depending on who is the other party to the contract. Things to think about when assessing the contracts of your company:

  • Create a system to manage the expiration and key terms of contracts to trigger warnings on the calendars of people responsible for managing the account.
  • Get rid of non-performing agreements or relationships that do not benefit your company. Not all revenue is good revenue.
  • Request copies of insurance coverage and other disclosures required by the contract. Don’t wait until something goes wrong to ask these questions
  • Perform audits of performance and technology security to ensure that vendors are compliant with the agreement. Many data breaches have occurred because of a vendor.

3.Protect the Intellectual Property

In many cases, the intellectual property of the company is the most valuable asset. Many companies take the time at the beginning to protect the intellectual property, but forget to periodically review and protect the assets. Consider the following when assessing intellectual property:

  • Take stock of all the different assets. Intellectual property is more than formulas and blueprints.
  • Create an intellectual property management plan to track all the important details.
  • Audit individual assets to determine whether there has been infringement and if it makes sense to attempt to enforce rights or let the registration of the intellectual property lapse.

4.Acknowledge Employees

In a talent shortage, companies find themselves working harder than ever to retain the best and brightest employees. At the same time, the companies often overlook important details in managing the relationships with those individuals. Here are a few things to think about when implementing those policies trying to improve employee retention:

  • Document the policies clearly and thoroughly to reflect the reality of expectations.
  • Communicate and provide training on the policies to the employees.
  • Obtain written acknowledgments from the employees that they received the policies.
  • Be consistent. Deviating from the written policy can be worse than having no policy at all.

This is an exciting time of year filled with many holiday parties and reflection. Proactive businesses can use this time to position themselves for success in 2017. Loop Legal can help with many of these common year-end needs on short notice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.