When it comes to keeping the money you make the corporate entity is one of your best friends. Legally a properly maintained corporation of any type is a separate entity and that entity’s whole reason for existing is to serve and protect your money.

Nifty eh?

However for your imaginary friend to protect you, you need to feed and care for it. I have seen so many small business owners get so busy doing business that they forget to maintain the business itself. If that happens then your layer of protection can be stripped away in court and you and your partners or shareholders can be held liable for damages. No business owner or shareholder needs that kind of headache so here are a few tips to keeping your protection healthy:

* Do business as your business - When signing checks or contracts for your business is sure that you use your title somewhere on the check/contract and your business logo or name. Always use the full business name including the incorporation type. Hand out your business card like crazy. Your friend is on paper only; you need to make sure that he does business with you.
* Regular meetings with minutes - I have seen many small business owners forget or simply be too busy to do this. There are services that help with this for a bit more than $100.00 a year. These meetings don’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy but they do need to happen and you need a record of them happening.
* File Annually - You may have registered your business initially with the local state government but you need to keep that file active and paid for. Most states that I have seen have set up the filing process and renewal online at this point. That filing fee can save you much grief later on.
* NO commingling of funds - Be smart in how you use your business’ money. One good idea to prevent problems is to use separate accounts for you and your business. If your business has a different tax identification number than you do then you need separate bank accounts. When it comes to filing your tax returns make sure that you get yours looked at by a good accountant. Putting your business information on your personal return or vice versa can lead to trouble down the road.

These are pretty general rules of thumb when it comes to maintaining your corporate entity’s health. At the very least these steps will help keep you organized in your business and that is worth the time and effort right there.
This post is part of the ProBlogger Group Writing Project! where you can find more essyas for sale.

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