Your business’s year-end to-do list.

By Attorney Nancy Greene

This time of year certain red-suited and white bearded individuals are making lists and checking them twice. Are you doing the same in your business?  You should be.

Whether the business is in start-up mode or has been around for years – even decades – you should conduct a review of all levels of your business on at least an annual basis.  Yes, I know. Annual reviews are as fondly anticipated as a root canal without anesthesia. But like the annual dental cleaning, business reviews are necessary for your business’ health. Most people treat their business like crock pot cooking – fix it and forget it. But let me suggest this isn’t the best approach.

The law is a living breathing dragon that changes in large and small ways every day. An employee agreement template you had drafted as little as a year ago may be wildly outdated. As we saw with the changes to the Federal overtime law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), effective December 1, 2016 (or not), the steps you’ve taken to comply with the law might become meaningless if a Court suspends the change. What? Didn’t know the FLSA was supposed to change? Take a deep breath for dodging that particular obstacle in the Legal Landmine field, but understand that not knowing about a change in the law is a HUGE problem.

What do I recommend all business review on at least an annual basis? Here’s the short list:

  • Client Agreements
    • Do you have a signed agreement for every client?
    • Are the agreements the latest version of your terms and conditions? If not, when do they renew so you can update the contract?
    • Are there any client relationships that need to be ended or renegotiated?
  • Company policy, safety and procedures handbooks
    • Are they compliant with current law?
    • Do they cover all the topics they need to?
  • Any teaming or other joint venture agreements including shareholder or operating agreements
    • Review for the same issues as under Client Agreements.
    • Do they have out-clauses? Are those clauses clear? Do they need to be renegotiate?
    • Is the anniversary/ contract end date approaching? Do they need to be renegotiated?
  • Company performance benchmarks.
    • Did you meet them for the year.
    • If not why?
    • What are they for the upcoming year?
  • Expenses
    • Are there are better and more efficient ways to use the business’s money?
    • Is every dollar spent working for your business?
  • Employee functions and workload.
    • Do you have enough workers or too many?
    • Are the ones you have being optimally used?
    • Are there ones that need to be let go because they aren’t needed, aren’t meeting performance benchmarks, or aren’t a culture fit?
    • If you need to let an employee go, could that person be better utilized in a different position?
  • Marketing strategy
    • Performance benchmarks – did your marketing plan achieve the results you wanted?
    • If not, why?
    • What is the strategy for the upcoming year?
    • Do you need to start or stop doing certain things based on the results or new goals?
  • Taxes
    • Are you compliant?
    • Are you leveraging your legitimate deductions?
    • Can you benefit from tax planning for the next year? (By the way, this is almost always a “yes”
  • Your mission statement and values
    • Did the company act in accordance with its mission statement and values
      • If not, why not?
    • Did your company’s culture fully support its mission and values?
    • What can you do in the upcoming year to support these goals.
  •  Service
    • How did you serve your clients?
    • How did you serve your field of business?
    • How did you serve your greater community?
    • What are your service goals and benchmarks for the next year?
    • Your Advisory Team
  • Your Advisory Team
    • Do you have one?
    • Did you use them last year?
    • If so, what for?
    • If not, why not?
    • Do you need to build out the team/ Do you have the critical players on it?

Even if you’ve never done an annual review before now’s the time to start. Let’s start 2017 off strong.

If you need advice related to your business’s annual review, or would like assistance with any other business matter, please contact Nancy at Land, Carroll and Blair, PC, in Alexandria and Fairfax, VA at:

(703) 836-1000

ngreene@landcarroll.comAttorney Nancy Greene


Twitter:           @attnyNancyGreene



You knew one was coming, right? After all, I am an attorney. Nothing in this article is or should be considered legal advice. This article forms no lawyer-client relationship. Consult an attorney about your situation. WE SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ANY REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. We do not give tax or investment advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment. Always seek the assistance of a professional for tax, legal and investment advice.

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