Small Businesses

The New Year is Here: 3 Resolutions Small Businesses Need to Make in 2015

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The key to success for any business is to be well prepared and organized when it comes to important paperwork and deadlines, which certainly can be a challenge to maintain. But if done, it can ensure your business is in good standing and will help avoid costly issues.

Here are three resolutions to set the course for small business success:

1. Stay up to date on compliance deadlines.

Most state, county and local governments require companies to have the right licenses and permits in place before they open their doors.  Depending on your particular industry and where you operate, any number of licenses and permits may apply to your business. In addition to business licenses there are several other compliance regulations small businesses must be aware of. For instance, states periodically change compliance deadlines, forms and fees so reviewing these details can help you avoid late fees and loss of good standing. Working with a professional registered agent will ensure you meet filing deadlines and stay in good standing. Failing to maintain good standing can result in significant fines and possibly having your business licenses suspended, resulting in bids lost to competitors. 

Related: 5 Moves Small Retailers Must Make to Compete With Big Box Stores

2. Review your formation structure.

Tax season will be here before we know it, so it is wise to review your business’s formation structure to determine if a change in structure can result in tax benefits. Choosing the right business entity, (i.e. LLC, S Corporation or C Corporation) can make a big difference for a small-business owner. If your company has changed in size or ownership, it is a good idea to think about which formation structure is most beneficial. Speak to a trusted advisor such as your lawyer or accountant to help you determine which structure to choose.

3. Expand your business the right way.

If expanding your company beyond state lines is on the horizon this year, you want to do it the right way. Every state requires that any company that operates within its borders be officially "on record" with the state. Each state has different requirements, but if your company accepts orders, has a physical presence or employees in a given state, you will likely need to file with that state. A business has two options for meeting this requirement: foreign qualification or formation with the state. As you think about expanding, you will need to devote more time and financial resources to determining which method makes the most sense for your business. Start thinking about your options as soon as possible to minimize unnecessary stress and expenses while maximizing positive outcomes.

Related: 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete With Giants in SEO

There is always a long list of to-dos for a business owner, however, it’s essential to check off these three resolutions for a strong start to the New Year. Remember, if you’re ever unsure about compliance guidelines, formation structure, business expansion and beyond, it is always a good idea to consult with trusted advisors, such as your lawyer or CPA, and expert resources to guide in your decision making process. 

Related: 6 Smart Tax Moves to Take Before the End of the Year