Change is inevitable for small businesses today. And whether you change your products, your branding efforts or your targeted customer base, making changes to how you operate can have a significant impact on a business.
Recently, an article in Forbes discussed signs that it might be time to “pivot” as a business, or to change how a business operates. If you feel you are seeing these signs and you are ready for such a change, then there are some legal elements you should consider as well.
Reassess your employment policies. Changing your business can affect the number, type and category of people you having working for you. Whether you are taking new people on or letting people go, be such you do so in accordance with state and federal laws.
Examine your partnerships. You may need to work with new parties to accomplish your goals and put an end to existing professional relationships. Examine these closely to ensure you align your company with others that can help you achieve your new ambitions.
Consult your contractual agreements. If you are adjusting relationships, moving locations or changing the way your business operates, be sure you consult your existing contracts first. These contracts could limit your options and prevent you from terminating certain people or partnerships. Failure to review these contracts can result in costly penalties.
Prepare for the unexpected. Pivoting business operations has a toll on shareholders, vendors, employees and your client base, and you cannot always anticipate how they will react. While you can hope and expect certain outcomes, understand that ultimately, you can’t predict the future.
If you feel it’s time to pivot your business, do so thoughtfully. Discuss the potential changes with your partners and trusted advisers, and consult an attorney to determine if and how the changes you want to make could affect your business venture. Diligent preparation can help you minimize the potential obstacles you could face as you take your business to the next phase.