Viewer Questions & Business Suggestions
I have been receiving a lot of questions lately from all my wonderful viewers. In this episode of All Up In Yo’ Business, I the following question that I recently received:
Being that I am in the service industry myself, what personal tips can I give to others in a similar position?
Easily the two most important suggestions I can give to any business owner, especially those who are providing a service rather than a product are
1. Get everything in writing. And I mean everything!
Service agreements with clients are essential. In my line of business, it is important that me and my clients are on the same page with regards to what exactly it is I am doing for them, how much my fees are, what is or is not included in those fees, how potential conflicts of interest may affect what I am doing for them, what is expected of the client in terms of information and cooperation, etc. Having all of that in writing that we have both agreed to is the best way for me to prevent any possible misunderstandings or disagreements in the future. Even if I am doing work for someone I know personally and have a personal relationship with, I still make sure I have a signed agreement with that person before I begin any work for them.
The same goes for partnerships and other business arrangements. Partnership agreements can save a business thousands in legal fees if there is ever a disagreement between the partners. If you are getting a loan from a friend or family member, make sure you have a promissory note. I can almost guarantee that something will eventually go wrong or somewhere down the line someone will disagree with something you are doing. If you have something already in writing explaining how decisions are made or how to resolve a dispute, it will make your life a lot easier. I promise.
2. Remember that your business is a separate legal entity even though it can feel like you and your business are one and the same.
I probably sound like a broken record. I’m okay with that. Particularly in a single-member LLC, you have to–I repeat have to– make sure you separate yourself personally from your business. When you are the only one running the show and calling the shots, it can be easy to forget that your business is a separate legal creature from yourself. If you decide to buy a building or office for your business, it is not you buying the building (even though you might be personally guaranteeing a mortgage), it is the business buying the building. So you as the business owner need to consent to buy the building and need to document that consent just as you would if you were in a business with multiple owners and a meeting to address the issue. In that situation you would keep minutes of the meeting and hopefully have the owners sign a resolution showing that you have all come to an agreement. Same thing here. If your business is ever subject to a lawsuit, you will need to show that you as a human being are completely separate from your business.
It is a good great idea to consult with an attorney to make sure your business has everything it needs and gets your questions answered. Schedule a consultation to get started.