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In the rush to start the new year right, there are many things that businesses large and small need to take care of. It’s a time to review strategies, evaluate performance, and make new projections. One task that is also critical is to update the employee handbook to account for changes in law and benefits, among other changes.

This task is often neglected by smaller employers, but it can be a critical one. A well designed and frequently updated handbook is the primary tool for promoting good employee relations by setting expectations and standards for all employees to follow.

Key characteristics

The Republican tax bill recently passed by the Senate has proven to be the subject of substantial debate. Business owners in particular are wondering how this will affect them. Supporters of the tax bill claim that it will provide a boost for businesses, while opponents say it will only benefit the wealthiest, biggest corporations.

The Size And Type Of Business Is Likely To Make A Big Difference

It is clear that the proposed tax plan would dramatically cut the corporate tax rate, benefiting big businesses. However, supporters of the plan also say it is designed to help out small, local businesses.

Starting a new business is a complex endeavor. There is a great deal of work that needs to be done and there are various factors that will set the stage for the business’s long-term success. Many of those factors are in the hands of the business owner: Is there a viable business idea? How will the business stand out from the competition? Is a solid business plan in place? Will the work be done and the hours put in to make the business a success?

However, even the most diligent business owner must take into account external factors that they may have little or no control over. It certainly helps to know that the business will be opening its doors in a city that is friendly to new businesses.

So the question is: Is Dallas a good city for starting a business?

Nationwide, women-owned businesses now make up 38 percent of all businesses. Women-owned businesses are on the rise throughout the United States, but Texas is leading the charge. Texas is second only to California in terms of number of women-owned businesses.

It’s Not Just About The Number Of Women-Owned Businesses

While the sheer number of women-owned businesses in Texas is impressive, it is important to look at how well these businesses are faring.

Many businesses force employees to sign noncompete agreements, only to learn later that the agreement does not hold up in court. The reality is that judges look very closely at these agreements when they are at the center of a dispute between an employer and former employee, and they may disapprove of agreements that unfairly hinder a former employee’s right to earn a living. For this reason, employers must be diligent in the drafting and signing of these agreements to ensure they are enforceable.

Employers Have The Right To Protect Their Interests

Intellectual property is often one of the key features that gives a business an advantage in a competitive landscape. It only makes sense to protect it. However, when  employers go to far in trying to protect themselves from competition, they may actually lose out on the protections they truly need.

Following the events in Charlottesville in which white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters, many people on social media have called upon employers to fire those photographed carrying torches and supporting white nationalist ideals.

This begs the question: Are such firings legal? Is it okay for an employer to terminate an employee based on political opinions expressed outside of the workplace?

The Question Of At-Will Employment

Most employers know that workplace discrimination is illegal. They create policies and procedures, implement trainings and take other steps to ensure that their workplace is free from discrimination in any form. Employers do this not only to avoid wrongful termination claims and other employment litigation, but to ensure a happy, productive workforce.

However, discrimination laws may not be as clear as some believe them to be, particularly when it comes to LGBT employees.

Civil Rights Law Does Not Clearly Protect LGBT Workers

A recent study from CNBC verified what many business owners already know: Texas is very friendly toward businesses.

The state came in fourth place in a ranking of best states for businesses. In a followup article, CNBC details some of the factors that led to Texas’s high placement.

From Low Taxes To Plentiful Financing, Texas Businesses Are Positioned To Win

Business owners often have strong feelings about unions. Sooner or later, many of them will have to confront the possibility of their workforce unionizing. When faced with a union organizing drive, some simply accept it and hope that they will be able to continue running a successful business. Others feel that having a unionized workforce could hurt them.

Businesses that want to avoid unionization have a challenge in front of them. However, unionization may be prevented or at least forestalled if the proper steps are taken.

This Is About Worker Satisfaction

For all the excitement that comes with opening a new business, the process can also be extremely stressful. There is much to do, so much that it can be difficult to keep track of and prioritize all the steps you will need to take to ensure your business gets started right.

To make matters more complex, the steps that need to be taken may vary depending on the industry and your goals for the business. Launching a new restaurant is quite a bit different than getting a new manufacturing facility off the ground. For that reason, there is no one-size-fits-all to-do list for starting a business.

What Are Common Steps For Starting A New Business?

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