ABOUT THAT TO-DO LIST
With business slower at many companies during the summer with customers and employees on vacation, owners might want to tackle that list of tasks they keep putting off. Here's a look at some top items for many to-do lists:
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—Financial check-up. Owners should schedule meetings with their accountants to assess their companies' fiscal health and plan for the rest of the year. The meeting agenda should include discussing a company's revenue outlook, any plans it has for big purchases like equipment or property, whether it's in a position to hire and what its tax bill is going to look like.
—Employee handbook. Human resources consultants and labor law attorneys recommend businesses create or update handbooks with detailed information and policies so staffers will understand what's expected of them in their work, and also what benefits and resources are available to them. Handbooks can be quite comprehensive and probably aren't something that, if they're done well, can be dashed off in a few weeks. But at the least, owners should be able to formulate written policies on vacation, sick leave, drug use, attendance, disciplinary procedures, conflicts of interest, harassment and discrimination. Owners can find templates online to help them. They should also consider asking an attorney or HR professional to review the handbook.
—Website makeover. Owners should be sure that their websites are showing up prominently in internet searches, and they should refresh the text or pictures so frequent visitors don't find them boring or tired-looking. The sites should also be displaying well on mobile devices — if a business doesn't have a mobile site, it's time to create one.
SMALL BUSINESS LEGISLATION
Bills aimed at increasing federal contracting opportunities for small businesses are getting closer to final congressional approval.
The House last week passed the legislation and sent it to the Senate as part of a defense spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. One contracting bill details the job descriptions of commercial market representatives, government employees who help large companies find small businesses to work on contracts. A second spells out the job descriptions for business opportunity specialists, who give advice to small businesses that seek to be contractors.
Contracting legislation, which generally has had bipartisan support in Congress, has been included annually in defense spending bills that became law in recent years.
Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com/search/joyce%20rosenberg