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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Swan

Minimize Your Risks as a Small Business Owner

Around tax time, small business owners and landlords have an opportunity to reevaluate some of their financial products and make sure they're minimizing risk for the future.

Insurance policies, incorporation documents, and other business documents work together to protect your personal assets from business-related lawsuits.

We're all about minimizing risk, so you can live with peace of mind.

- Separate your real estate investments from your personal pocketbook: You might not be considering all the risks associated with your real estate investment. Have you considered the liabilities of owning land along a river? Or the popular sledding hill on your property?

In the insurance industry, being a landlord is known as a "hot risk," and it needs to be handled carefully. You don't want your personal assets at risk because of your tenants and guests.

- Protect against audits: The IRS knows if you're casual about your business, you're probably casual about your taxes, too. A sole proprietorship is 5-7 times more likely to be audited than an LLC. So it's time to incorporate your business.

Unsure of where to start or what tax advantages you might be eligible for? An experienced attorney, working with your accountant, can help you get the most for your money. Don't go another year and risk an expensive audit. Incorporate your business and protect your personal assets along with the business itself.

- Protect against frivolous lawsuits: The National Federation of Independent Business says that small businesses make excellent targets for frivolous lawsuits because they will usually settle out of court rather than spend what it takes to go to trial. It is estimated that the average number of times a business is sued over the lifetime of its owner is five times.

We have the tools to protect your business against frivolous lawsuits. You won't be caught off-guard if you have a plan.

- Check your insurance policies for gaps: Juries are penalizing businesses when cell phones contribute to accidents. It is hard to duck once phone records come to court. Don't kid yourself. Accidents involving mobile phones can and do exceed insurance limits and lead to bankruptcies, but there are ways you can protect your business.

The same is true for motor vehicles. Personal auto insurance policies contain exclusions. Keep your insurance broker fully informed on how vehicles are being used. Are you reimbursing employees for mileage? Whose insurance will pay for an accident en route to a business meeting? The insurance policies are often tricky and particular. You want to be clear on what's covered and what clauses you need to include in your employee manual or safety policy.

If you have concerns about your business, property, or other assets, Swan Law can answer your questions. Schedule a 1-hour consultation with Catherine Swan.

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