Maintaining a business requires several steps be completed on an annual basis, including updating business documents. Here are 5 documents every business must update to remain in compliance with government regulations.
If you’re fresh to the world of entrepreneurship, you may not realize that once your initial documents have been filed for your business, there’s some general maintenance that comes with the territory. Certain paperwork will need to be regularly updated to keep your business in compliance and on the right track in general. Not sure which documents to check in on regularly? We rounded up the top five that require a quick refresher:
1. Annual Report
Filing an annual report is required for businesses that incorporate as an LLC or corporation. Each report includes basic information like the name of the business, its address and registered agent. If there have been any changes made, the annual report should be filed to document said changes in order to keep your business in compliance.
If your business has ever held a board or shareholder meeting, it’s a requirement to take minutes as the official account of decisions made during the event. Since these are considered official documents, it’s important that minutes are regularly looked over. When taking minutes, include basic information like the meeting’s date, time, place and those in attendance. Check to make sure agenda items are present and voting actions are listed along with voting results.
3. Bylaws or Operating Agreement
These will vary depending on your legal formation. An operating agreement is drafted for an LLC entity. Take a moment to make sure this document contains the proper information about your LLC’s activities, members, tax and financial provisions, capital provisions, and membership withdrawal and transfer provisions.
Bylaws are created for corporations and essentially serve as the formation’s rules and regulations. Make sure that the topics your bylaws cover are up-to-date on how directors are elected, how meetings are organized, and the office roster and summary of duties.
4. Employee Manual
Think about the last time you updated the employee handbook. If you can’t recall, that means it has been too long — and that’s not a good thing, especially if company policies have changed. Work with your team to determine what should be updated in the employee manual, such as dress codes, time off request procedures and social media use. Then provide everyone in the company with the revised manual and the date that its updates are slated to go (or went) into effect.
5. Business Plan
Whether you drafted a traditional business plan or a lean start-up plan, it’s a good idea to check in on this document from time to time and make sure you’re progressing along on the right track. Take the time to make updates where they might be necessary. Here are a few key areas that deserve a quick review:
- Did the demographics of your audience shift? Redefine your target audience in your market analysis.
- Do you have more competitors? If so, include their information in the industry analysis section.
- Employed new staff members? Update the section on organization and management with their biographies, backgrounds, and core responsibilities.
- Have you revamped your mission statement? Add the new one as part of your value proposition.
Business plans are a necessity if you ever plan to apply to a business loan from the Small Business Administration. Need some pointers on getting your business plan up-to-speed? Download our ebook, How to Write a Winning Business Plan.