Managing Deadlines: Avoiding Costly Mistakes for Business Owners

Every business operates within the framework of deadlines. Missing a critical deadline can lead to severe consequences, as many business owners have experienced firsthand. Understanding the importance of these deadlines and implementing effective tracking systems is essential for smooth operations and long-term success.

The Importance of Deadlines in Lease Agreements

A common area where deadlines are often missed is in office lease agreements. Typically, businesses renting office space must give notice if they intend not to renew their lease. This notice period is usually stipulated to be within the first six months of the last year of the lease, not the final months. Failure to provide this notice often results in an automatic renewal, obligating the business to another term and the associated costs.

Establishing a Company Calendar

To avoid such pitfalls, creating a company calendar is a vital strategy. This calendar should be diligently maintained and regularly checked. Many companies implement two versions of this calendar: one on the president’s or owner’s smartphone and another in a document reviewed during routine meetings by the board of directors or other key personnel.

Key Items to Include in the Company Calendar

1. Company Registration Renewals

  • Annual reminders to renew company registrations in every state where the business operates, including corporations, LLCs, and DBAs.

2. Tax Deadlines

  • Annual income tax filings, quarterly estimated tax payments, payroll tax payments, and sales and use tax deadlines should be meticulously noted.

3. Intellectual Property Deadlines

  • Renewal dates and filing deadlines for copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property protections should be tracked to prevent loss of valuable assets.

4. Licenses and Registrations

  • Renewal obligations for any business licenses and registrations should be included to ensure compliance with local and state regulations.

5. Lease Renewal Deadlines

  • Critical dates related to office space lease renewals should be prominently noted to avoid unintentional lease extensions.

6. Miscellaneous Obligations

  • Any other important deadlines or obligations that could be easily overlooked should be listed to maintain operational continuity.

Benefits of a Well-Maintained Company Calendar

A well-maintained company calendar helps prevent operational disruptions caused by missed deadlines. It provides a structured approach to managing obligations, ensuring that critical tasks are completed on time. This practice not only saves money but also contributes to the overall stability and growth of the company.

Conclusion

Implementing a robust system for tracking important deadlines is indispensable for business owners. A comprehensive company calendar serves as a powerful tool to manage obligations effectively, avoid costly mistakes, and ensure the smooth operation of the business. By keeping track of key dates and deadlines, business owners can focus on growth and success without the stress and complications arising from missed obligations.

Video Transcript

Every company has deadlines. What are the consequences? Well, I have met with time and time again, business owners who missed an important deadline.

Example: Lease Renewal Notices

For example, if you rent office space, usually, you have to give a notice. And that notice, usually, is in the last year of your lease, but it is not in the final months of your lease. A lot of leases, for example, will say, “In the last year, the first six months of that year, you must give notice that you are not going to renew. If you don’t give that notice, the lease will automatically renew and the company will owe for another term.” So that is a great example of an important deadline that you can put in a company calendar.

Long-Term Leases and Planning

Many times, it is years down the road because it might be a three-year lease or a seven-year lease. So, the key takeaway here is to have a company calendar and assign somebody to regularly check it. In fact, many companies have two versions. One is on the president’s or owner’s smartphone calendar. And the other copy is on a document somewhere that gets regularly reviewed by the board of directors, the president, or somebody in a routine meeting that occurs.

What to Include in a Company Calendar

Company Registration Reminders

So what do you put on this company calendar? Well, there are a few common items. First, make sure you have a reminder to renew your company registration each year in every state where it is registered. This includes your corporation or LLC. It also includes any DBA that you have registered, and do that in every state where you have registrations.

Tax Deadlines

Second, you will often include any tax deadlines that might be your annual income tax. It might be quarterly estimated income tax payments. It might be quarterly payroll tax payments or annual sales and use tax. Whatever your payment schedule is based on the size of your business or the requirements of your state, having those tax deadlines on your calendar can relieve stress, knowing that all those important deadlines are taken care of on a regular basis.

Intellectual Property Renewals

The next item that you might consider putting on your calendar is any renewals or deadlines for intellectual property, whether you have copyright registrations or trademark registrations, certain deadlines come up to renew or for filings. And so having those in your company calendar will make sure that even if you switch attorneys in the future or your attorney forgets, you have those deadlines in place and you don’t lose the intellectual property that you’ve been building for your company.

Licenses and Registrations

Next, put on your calendar licenses and registrations. You typically have some sort of renewal obligations or re-registrations that are required. Making sure all of those are in your company calendar will be a great reminder and provide peace of mind.

Lease Renewal Deadlines

We already talked about the lease renewal or any deadlines related to your office space. And then, any other deadlines or obligations that come up that might be forgotten. Those are great things to list on this corporate calendar. By making sure you do this, quite simply, you make sure you don’t lose your company because the registration expires, or you don’t lose intellectual property.

Benefits of a Company Calendar

You don’t accidentally have a lease renewal. All these sorts of problems routinely happen because business owners can’t possibly remember deadlines months and years in the future. So having a company calendar with all of these will provide you peace of mind. And make sure that your company can grow without all the trouble and problems that comes from missing those deadlines.