With the start of a new year, it’s time to make sure, as I like to call it, your “back end ducks are in a row.” I’m referring to the foundational part of your business–not the pretty shiny part that your customers or clients see – but the behind-the-scenes that protects and bolsters that pretty shiny part. It is important that you regularly assess this foundational part to make sure it is solidly built. I’ve come up with several questions to help you assess your foundation, which I’ve broken down into what I see are the main categories for creatives – the areas that I receive the most questions and requests for advice and recommendations.
Business Formation–Have you decided what legal business entity you would like your business to operate under? Sole Proprietorship? LLC? S-Corporation?
Record Keeping–Are you keeping your business records up-to-date? Are you keeping them separate from your personal records? Do you have an accounting system or an accountant to help advise you?
Contracts & Agreements–Have you thought through the types of contracts you will need on a regular basis to operate your business? Client Services Contract? Non-Disclosure Agreement? Licensing Agreement? Independent Contractor Agreement?
Copyright Issues–Have you thought through what creative or intellectual works you will have copyrighted? How often will you submit your designs to be copyrighted? Are you using the proper marks to put others on notice that you own the works that you are selling? Have others infringed on your copyrighed works? Do you know how you will respond legally if someone does infringe on your copyrighted works?
Trademark Issues–Have you thought through what you will have trademarked? Will you trademark your name? Logo? Do you have a tag line that should be trademarked? Are you using the proper marks to put others on notice that you own the brand you are selling? Have others infringed on your trademark? Do you know how you will respond legally if someone does infringe on your trademark?
Social Media Issues–Do you have a social media policy for your employees that handle your social media? Do you utilize disclaimers regarding endorsements? Set rules when running contests on social media?
Hope this helps many get organized and motivated to protect what they are working so hard to create!
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