The world is different right now, and small business owners are feeling the changes to a much greater degree than many other sectors of society. Some problems never go away: issues with employees, suppliers, vendors, and customers will be around as long as you have your business. New issues have also appeared in the last year that are not as common – or old issues have show up in new ways. Here are a few of the biggest problems facing small business owners right now:
1. Financing, Funding, and Cash Flow. Everyone has less money it seems. This means customers are paying slower and suppliers and vendors are getting irritated. Even though we should all have a bit more patience in this pandemic, it is important to remember that business is still business! Be aware that financing is still happening, but it seems to have slowed down – plan on extra time to close loans or receive loaned funds. Your rights to payment (and your obligations to pay) are not suspended. This means you can still demand on-time payment and, if necessary, call your attorney to start legal proceedings to enforce that right. More importantly, it is critical right now to take all steps necessary to protect your right to collect. If you’ve given a customer extra time to pay, make sure you put the agreement in writing and give them specific requirements – when, how much, are you charging interest?
2. Remote Employees. You are not required to give employees remote work opportunities, and you are not required to pay an employee who misses work because of concerns for COVID. Just as before, your hiring, firing, and work assignment policies are defined by your employee handbook and you should continue to enforce those as you did before. If you need an employee handbook, or need yours updated – give us a call! Again, patience with employees is probably a good course of action in our current circumstances, but so is making money to pay them!
3. Corporate Administration and Insurance. We all have too much on our minds, so it’s easy for some action items to get ignored. We are noticing several business owners who have forgotten to keep their corporate documents up to date and others who have failed to update or renew insurance policies, bonding agreements, or similar business protections. Make sure that you’re aware of your business’ administrative requirements and that you are still in good standing with the Secretary of State. A lapse in your official registration could open you up to personal liability for issues relating to the business. If you need your corporate status reviewed, renewed, or reinstated, give us a call – it’s always easier to maintain it in good standing than to reinstate it after it lapses!
Above all, these times are unique for each business. Spending some money now for a quick legal review of your particular situation is a good investment in prevention to avoid an emergency later. Whether you’re ahead of the game and want that review, or already have an emergency on hand, give us a call and we will help you find a solution.