Akerly Law

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Publications and speeches

In 2018 I resolve to...

#1 –Train, Train and Train

Make sure employees are adequately trained, not only on equipment and technology used in the day-to-day exercise of their business duties, but on laws and regulations relating to the business.  Take advantage of training applicable to your business.  Trade associations are a great resource for training and certifications relative to your business.  If available, get employees licensed and certified in their fields of work.

#2 – Embrace Technology

Given the fast-paced times we live in, take steps to provide your business with the most up-to-date technology it needs to conduct its business in the most efficient and economical way possible.  There are many resources available.  Test them.  Assess them.  Find out what works. Revamp if necessary.

#3 – Be Risk Averse

Managing risk is essential to avoiding risk.  There are a number of ways this can be accomplished.  Training is one.  Adopting and using cutting-edge technology is another.  Establish compliance programs and conduct risk assessments.  Have policy manuals and require employees to follow them.  Have you considered insurance?  We insure our health, home, cars and teeth, so why not our businesses?  Credit and other forms of liability/casualty insurance may be an affordable way to avoid losses which are occasioned by events outside our control.  While this may not be an economical or feasible option for all business, you should resolve to consider this option in the coming year.

#4 – Take Advantage of Non-Legal Credit Enhancing Tools

If you have suffered more than a 10% bad debt loss in a given year you should consider investing in a source of information that will provide a greater degree of certainty that debts will be paid.  Membership in a credit reporting or trade association – like NACM or ACA International - is a good place to start.  When contemplating payment arrangements, consider obtaining trade references, personal guarantees, and pledges of personal collateral to secure anticipated debt servicing to avoid collection issues in the future.

#5 – Treat Everyone With Respect

In his best-selling book, Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Eric Berne describes three role states: parent, adult, and child.  Many negative behaviors can be traced to switching or confusing these roles.  For example, a controlling, abusive boss (i.e., controlling “parent”) often develops self-abased obedient, tantrum throwing, or other childlike responding employees.  People like to be praised and encouraged.  Find ways to praise the good efforts and successes of your employees.  It makes sense that positive strokes will result in positive behavior and add value to your business.

 #6 – Freebee

No one ever says: “I hope I have to spend money on an attorney this year.”  However, you should feel comfortable saying, “I don’t mind spending a few bucks consulting an attorney to get it right and, hopefully, avoid spending thousands of dollars on legal fees to straighten out a mess that could have been avoided.”  Do not be afraid to obtain sound, competent legal advice on any matter you are not accustomed to dealing with before you act.  An experienced business-litigation attorney can provide real-life counsel that will be invaluable to your business’ well-being.

Sarah Grace Chastain