Best Practices for Small Businesses #7-12

Eryn Slagle, a senior at the University of Minnesota Duluth, assisted in the writing of this article. When starting and operating a small business, it’s important to adopt best practices that will help make your business successful, profitable, and to avoid conflict and disputes. In today’s article, we will cover Best Practices #7-12.

Best Practice #7- Compliance is key to good business operations and will help avoid problems later on. Being informed about your licensing requirements as well as laws, rules, and other compliance requirements that may apply to your specific business is important. Completing all continuing education on time is another good practice, and also looking to your industry organizations and associations for changes on the horizon that may affect your business.

Best Practice #8 – In today’s world technology continues to advance. Many businesses are ditching paper and moving towards electronic databases. In order to do so effectively and protect against cyber threats, it’s important that your business maintains its software and has secure networks. Having a capable I/T services person on staff or readily available is key to achieving this best practice.

Best Practice #9 – When running a business extra costs should be avoided if possible, such as late fees and penalties. It’s important to pay all bill and taxes on time, submit filings on time, and get assistance with payroll. Sometimes even simple mistakes can be costly.

Best Practice #10 – Keeping organized records and documentation can help a business run more efficiently and avoid paying penalties. It makes it easier to go back and look at a business’s finances, payroll, employee records, and other company information. Documenting the business’s day-to-day activities and consistently reviewing records is the best way to make sure all information is up to date and accurate.

Best Practice #11 – Picking a good team is another great practice that can make running a business easier. Having trusted, professional advisors as part of your team is a great way to start. This team may include an attorney, CPA, insurance agent, banker, and financial advisor. These individuals will assist in matters that deal with the law, insurance, and finances. As a business owner, you will be able to turn to them in good times and when problems arise.

Best Practice #12 – The last of the top twelve business practices for small businesses is to plan your exit. It’s never too early to think about the future, your retirement, and the succession for the business. Ask yourself, who will be the next owner of my business? There are many possible exit strategies, and it’s wise to plan ahead. A buy/sell agreement among business partners addresses succession and other events. Completing an estate plan is also good idea especially if your plan is to pass your business on to a family member. It’s also important to prepare your business for a sale to a third party, and practicing the ‘Best Practices’ described in theses articles is a good way to do so.

We hope these Best Practices #7-12, as part of our ‘Top 12 Best Practices’ series, help you build a foundation for your small business. In the meantime, if you have questions or seek additional information about small business best practices, please consult your business law attorney, tax advisor, lender, financial advisor, or insurance agent.

Any requests for topic suggestions may be sent to Although we cannot give you legal advice through the column, we can provide some general information that may be helpful for you to know. Our purpose is to educate and we hope that you can take something new away from this column each time you read it.