By: Denola M. Burton
From the moment that I made the decision to start my own business, I realized the importance of protecting any assets that I might accumulate. Here are five things that I focused on and a GREAT BIG RECOGNITION!
1. Incorporate the business
2. Establish business processes
3. Sign confidentiality agreements
4. Secure information
5. Owning your business through trademarks
Incorporate the business.
It is important not to put your house, car, savings, and other personal possessions at risk. Limit your personal liability by incorporating or forming an LLC. For the most part, state law essentially separates the owners of the LLC and their personal assets for liability arising out of LLC activities. This is important in order to ensure that the business and personal finances are not mixed and that any risk in the business does not impact personal assets.
Establish business processes.
The day-to-day activities to keep your company running smoothly is to have established business processes. This can be accomplished by creating best practice systems and processes to streamline the operations of your company and developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This can seem like tedious work, but once established, they provide the structure needed for consistent and professional results.
A confidentiality agreement is a legal agreement that binds one or more parties to non-disclosure of confidential or proprietary information. A confidentiality agreement is often used in situations wherein sensitive corporate information or proprietary knowledge is not to be made available to the general public or to competitors. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a particular type of confidentiality agreement. I use these in my business since I have contractors that may have access to confidential information and may work across other companies.
Protect files and apply password protection and back up methods to protect important electronic records. Especially if you have contractors or employees, it is important to ensure that all files are protected and accessible to only those who need to have access. Google Drive and Drop Box are great tools for sharing information that is needed across teams since they allow access to only those who need it and can be shared across the team.
Owning your business through Trademarks
I think the ultimate “ownership” of a business involves documenting the business ownership and obtaining legal protection to safeguard intellectual property and the brand. A year ago, I started the process to officially register my business name and business logo for Trademark protection.
“Trademarks are any word, phrase, symbol, or design used to identify the source of the goods or services. Trademarks can include a company or brand name, product name, logo, slogan, or tag line. A few benefits include preventing others from registering an identical or confusingly, similar mark, providing nationwide notice of ownership of the mark, granting the right to use the Ò symbol, and protecting your mark throughout the entire united states and its territories and possessions.”
– Soroya Garner, Soroya Garner Law, LLC.
This month, I received official notification that Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC (the name) and Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC (the logo) have received Trademark protection from the US Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO)!!!!! I can officially use the Registered Trademark Symbol!
Creating and implementing a comprehensive asset-protection plan involves almost every aspect of your business. The goal of the plan is to protect your business assets within the framework of your business operations. What are you doing to protect your assets?
Denola Burton is the Founder and CEO of Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture AchieveÒ, LLC. Through Enhanced DNA, Denola develops and nurtures individuals and organizations to achieve their Leadership, Communication and Performance goals and objectives. Denola is an author and publisher and created Enhanced DNA Publishing to assist new and newer authors in publishing their books according to the Independent Book Publishing Association (IBPA) publishing standards. Denola retired from Eli Lilly and Company after 27 years where the majority of her career was focused on Employee Relations/Human Resources. You can connect with Denola on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN and Twitter at Enhanced DNA Develop Nurture Achieve or on her website at www.EnhancedDNAPublishing.com.