Just like individual people, businesses are constantly changing and growing. To ensure yours is heading in the right direction, it makes sense to identify and embrace best practices policies. While yours will be unique to your venture, here are some suggestions.
Define Your Cushion
Does your company have an emergency fund? You’ve heard of this budgeting recommendation for individuals, but it’s also a sound strategy for your business. RocketHQ suggests tallying at least three months’ worth of expenses and setting that amount aside for rainy days.
Ideally, you’ll deposit that into an account by itself, but if you keep it in your normal checking account, decide that the magic number is your new zero. In other words, if you need $12,000 for your monthly expenses, $36,000 would become your minimum balance. Make that amount your cushion, and don’t touch it unless a true emergency arises.
Embrace Personal Protection
It’s imperative to have a few policies in place that will protect you: always read a contract before you sign it, separate your business and personal finances, trademark your brand, and establish your company as an LLC. The first two are straightforward. When it comes to contracts, read even the fine print, and always have a lawyer look over it before you sign. Then, open a separate bank account for all business-related spending and deposits. While many people opt to use a personal checking account to take advantage of lower account minimums and fees, it is possible to find a business bank account with those perks, as well as added small business services, like income projection and “buckets” for your savings.
The second two sound complicated, but they are actually easy, thanks to the internet. You can trademark your brand through an online service of your choice, like through TrademarkPlus. Similarly, you can establish your company as an LLC in a few simple steps through the office of the Secretary of State. Both of these processes are straightforward, relatively inexpensive ways to protect your assets.
Some people are surprised to learn that there are still no laws in place against workplace bullying. There are rules against harassment for gender, age, race, and that sort of thing, but bullying is different. It’s just like the mean kid on the playground who singles out someone to pick on for any old thing — or for nothing. Maybe they don’t like the way the person walks, or dresses, or the sound of her voice.
You also might be surprised to learn that bullies can cost you money. The anxiety bullies create reduces productivity. Plus, stress can make people sick, driving down their immune system or even encouraging them to call off for mental health days more often. And it doesn’t just upset the person being picked on, because other teammates can feel caught up in the troubles, affecting their performance, too.
Because there aren’t laws against it, establishing a no-tolerance policy makes the best sense. It helps to ensure that your workplace is somewhere that everyone feels welcome and can enjoy their jobs, rather than dreading each day.
It IS Easy Being Green
Remember Kermit the frog’s song about how hard it was for him to be green? There is good news for you because it’s easy for your business to be green these days — and it makes good sense for your venture to establish policies embracing environmental conscientiousness. For instance, going paperless cuts down on waste and expenses, and the internet makes that easy. It’s also a matter of sustainability and efficiency — which you can hardly argue against since they both enhance profits.
Eco-friendly packaging, energy-efficient bulbs, green shipping options, and so forth, can reduce your environmental impact, raise morale, and even up your sales. Just make sure to put your policy into writing.
Best practices act as a rudder for your business. Take a hard look at your venture, determine where you can do better, set goals, put them in writing, then put them into action. Finally, be sure to connect with other local businesses to exchange ideas, share tips, and create a booming local economy.