New Year’s Resolutions for Businesses

Here is a guest blog from our friend Lisa Sparks of Bowie and Jensen law firm.

New Year’s
Resolutions for Businesses

are 10 New Year’s Resolutions that will get this year off to a great start:
Be clear and concise about company policies.  Review your employee
manual and other policies for any necessary updates.  If you don’t have
one to review and update, set a firm deadline for drafting one.
Green your business.  Find sustainable practices and implement them
to save money and improve social responsibility.  Easy places to start are
recycling programs (paper, plastics/cans, and electronics), buying re-usable,
recycled, and/or biodegradable kitchen supplies, turning lights off and
unplugging unused devices, printing only when necessary, and sharing documents
and information electronically. 
Stay on top of things.  Verify (and calendar) renewal dates and
needed updates to your business filings.  These include registrations in
all of the states where you do business, intellectual property protections,
professional licenses, etc…
Be in compliance.  Check to make sure that your state and federal
labor posters are current and properly placed at all covered worksites. 
Make sure that all employees are properly classified and update personnel files
and tax and benefit records as necessary (an employee’s classification may
change over time).  Think also about whether any new or refresher
trainings are needed for safety, sexual harassment prevention, CPR/AED
procedures, diversity, or conflict resolution.
Get paid.  Make a plan to address and collect any unusually large
or aged accounts receivable that may still be lingering. Improve billing and
collection procedures if necessary.
Cut costs.  Review your service contracts for upcoming renewals,
needs changes, and untapped discounts.  Negotiating rates isn’t just for
your cable bill at home.  Memberships in professional and trade
organizations often include group discounts.
Save everything that you need, but nothing that you don’t.  Review
your email and document retention policies to ensure that you are adequately
protected in the event of dispute or litigation.
Be more prepared.  Identify major problems or emergencies that
happened in 2011 and determine how to prevent or, if unavoidable, better plan
for such occurrences that may happen this year.
Brainstorm new marketing strategies.  Implement the best one on a
trial basis and calendar a date to evaluate it.  If it worked, make it a
permanent part of your marketing plan. If it didn’t, move on to another idea.
10.  Be
  Emphasize employee wellness to promote a healthy work
environment and keep healthcare costs down.  Hand out re-usable water
bottles (that’s green too), swap out candy for fresh fruit, organize a
lunch-time walking club, connect employees with information on local activities
like yoga classes, or set up a corporate membership at a nearby gym. 
Weight loss, nutrition, and fitness challenges can help increase wellness and
morale with a little healthy competition.
To contact the incomparable Lisa Sparks, email her or call (410) 583-2400