Don’t Start The Year Without Doing These Five Things - Linden Legal Strategies | Legal Advice. Simplified.

For most businesses, January marks both the start of the fiscal year and the time where we mentally start anew – new plans, new ideas and lots of new goals. Lists get made, memos get circulated and businesses gear up to make the upcoming year their best yet. As you plan out your 2018 goals, we have a few suggestions for items that should be at the top of the list:

Go Digital.

If you’re not using electronic signatures and documents with your clients, chances are you’re wasting a lot of time that could be used for more productive work. With the technology and security available today, there really aren’t any excuses for not converting to digital. You’ll save time, it will be easier for you to organize and track agreements and you won’t need to wait on your clients to print-sign-scan (which hopefully means that agreements get signed faster).  Want to learn more about implementing electronic signatures in your business?  Check out this post. Curious about our favorite provider? We’re huge fans of HelloSign.

Review Vendor Agreements.

Planning out your year also entails knowing when major changes are coming. January is the perfect time to review all of your vendor agreements to determine:

  1. When the agreement ends;
  2. Whether it has an evergreen (auto-renewal) clause; and
  3. If you want to keep working with the vendor at the end of the agreement’s term.

Take these dates, and put them on your calendar. Better yet, put them on a master business calendar with other important dates (client milestones, tax payments, etc.) If it’s a relationship you don’t want to continue, make sure that you have ticklers set to remind you – or whomever is in charge of cancelling the agreement – to provide the required notice. Mapping out the dates now will (hopefully) prevent costly errors later in the year.

Update Client Agreements.

While you’re reviewing agreements, pull out your standard client agreements. Regardless of your business, you most likely have an agreement with your clients — a proposal, terms of service, license agreement, return policy, privacy policy, terms of use, etc. Read through them and make notes of what works and what doesn’t. Are you drafting your scope of work clearly enough? Do your payment terms match how you’re collecting money from your clients? Do your clients push back so much you end up scrapping your standard and create a custom agreement for each project?

Now, take your notes, send them to your business attorney and schedule a meeting to discuss what works and what doesn’t. At Linden Legal Strategies, we believe that these agreements are living, breathing documents and when they aren’t working, your business isn’t working to its fullest potential. Your agreements need to protect the business you’re building – not – be such a pain that you cringe every time you think about pulling them out.

Schedule a Meeting with Your External Team.

If you didn’t sit down with your external advisory team (your accountant, attorney, banker, marketing expert and/or business coach) before the end of last year, now is the perfect time to meet with them. Bonus points if you can schedule them all together (and if they won’t talk to each other, it might be time to explore new advisors). Talk to them about what worked last year, what didn’t and what your goals are going forward. Leverage their expertise to help you grow.

Get Your Internal Team on Board.

Keeping your goals and strategic plans to yourself (or a select group of individuals) makes them almost impossible to implement. Schedule a meeting with your internal team and share your goals, your vision and what you hope to accomplish over the upcoming year. Bringing your team into the fold helps them feel invested and excited to get to work. Genuinely seeking input on how to execute your goals helps foster buy-in and can accelerate your growth. A happy, high-functioning team is your greatest asset.

Executing these five items will help you start jumpstart the year and help ensure you reach your goals. And if you need help along the way, take a look at our brand-new, subscription-based service to provide you with advice right when you need it. The service includes lots of tools help you kick off a successful year, including a digital library of resources and a dedicated attorney who’s always on call to answer your questions. It officially launches February 1, but you can read more about our beta program here.


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.  Always consult appropriate legal counsel for specific questions related to your business. Some states may consider this attorney advertising.


Linden Legal Strategies PLLC is a Richmond, Virginia-based law firm focusing on business law and development. To learn more about how Linden Legal Strategies can help you start, grow and protect your business, or to schedule an initial consultation, contact us here.