Legal Tune-Ups for Wedding Businesses
By Leah Weinberg, Color Pop Events
Have you ever penciled in time on your calendar for a legal tune-up? While most business owners find it easy to create new content, assign tasks to team members, and check in on clients, few regularly focus on the more formal aspects of their business. From contracts to intellectual property, prioritizing a legal tune-up might not be thrilling, but it’s vital to the overall success of your brand.
When you push the legalities of your business aside, you’re putting your hard work at risk. Glazed-over contracts and outdated website policies can lead to financial losses and legal battles — neither of which deserves your time or energy. It’s always better to remain proactive in your business rather than reactive.
But if you don’t have a background in the law, don’t stress. There are a handful of things you can do to dive into the legal side of your business and set your team up for long-term success. Here are six things to focus on the next time you conduct a legal tune-up.
Update your contracts
You should update your contracts each year on an as-needed basis. What does that mean? As a wedding pro, you’ve undoubtedly experienced plenty of events where something didn’t go as planned — or when something happened that you simply don’t want to happen again. In those situations, it’s best to update your contracts immediately after.
Your business will change as the months go on, so if any significant shifts occur, look at your contracts and service agreements first. They may need a few minor updates. And as you look, ask yourself these questions:
- What do clients most often ask me about my contracts?
- What negative experiences have I had with clients recently that I would like to prevent in the future?
- What current pain points do I have in my business?
- Has anything changed in the market that necessitates an update (e.g., COVID-19, inflation, etc.)?
Looking inward and collecting honest answers will allow you to revise your contracts in a way that protects you, your team members, and your bottom line.
Think about your renewals
Do you have any recurring contracts with other businesses? Think advertising, public relations, freelancers, or additional service providers. If so, when it’s time to renew, make it a habit to review them before signing again.
This might mean updating contractors’ responsibilities or increasing your marketing agency’s scope. Use renewals as a chance to check in with everyone and ensure your agreements are beneficial for both parties. Since you’re preparing the document anyway, you won’t have to go out of your way.
Focus on your finances
Conducting a legal tune-up allows you to analyze your financial standing and identify the aspects of your business that need a little TLC. For example, COVID-19 shifted the wedding and event industry as entrepreneurs tightened up language about non-refundable retainers and minimum payments. If you haven’t updated your force majeure, rescheduling, and cancellation policies, now is the time to do so.
Consider where your biggest losses come from, and ask yourself how you can mitigate these in the future. On the flip side, think about your most significant sources of income and how you can structure your business to make more room for them. It’s all about building a foundation that allows for consistent profit.
Audit your employees
As you analyze the legal side of your business, look at each of your team members. Audit your classification of employees and independent contractors. Each state has a different set of guidelines, so you’ll need to search for the specific requirements to follow.
People’s roles tend to change over the years, so don’t be afraid to update job descriptions or cut back where you need to. Sometimes, those who start as contractors shift to employees, and you need to create new roles as your business grows. Sit down with each team member to discuss their responsibilities and whether they think you can make adjustments to improve their role.
Protect your assets
If you’ve created a new logo, product, or course, don’t forget about trademarks, copyrights, and patents. You worked hard to develop a new idea — the last thing you want is someone taking credit for it! Protect your assets by making a list of anything that might need safeguarding.
If you consistently produce new products or services, it’s best to make this a quarterly task. Any intellectual property (IP) should be dealt with as soon as it’s live. Your IP should belong to you and only you, so it’s worth taking time to protect it.
Update your website policies
A legal tune-up might not be at the top of your to-do list now, but when you understand its benefits, you’ll find it easier to make time for this crucial task. Once your audit is complete, schedule time on your calendar for your next one. Remember: It’s always better to be proactive in preventing issues than simply reacting once they arise.
Identifying gaps and making the right changes will give you peace of mind knowing your business is protected!