What Mom and Pop Shops Need to Do to Stay in Compliance

Each year on March 29, we celebrate the owners of Main Street’s small businesses and startups with National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. As the backbone of the U.S. economy, these family-run companies pack a mighty punch over their bigger competitors. These businesses put their customer first, engage with the community, and are able to stay nimble thanks to their small status. Speaking of that flexibility, every business must maintain a certain amount of housekeeping. We’re not referring to tidying up a storefront, either. Mom and pop shops still need to meet their annual compliance requirements to stay in good standing.

Not sure what all your business needs to check off its compliance list? Take a look at some of the key areas below.

File an annual report

This is one of the simplest ways small businesses can stay on top of their annual maintenance. Mom and pop shops that formed an LLC or corporation will need to file an annual report in order to meet ongoing state regulations and stay in good standing.

What kind of information is in an annual report? An annual report is essentially a record of the activities and changes that go on within a business. This includes the business’ name, its current address, its registered agent’s name and address, names and addresses of its officers and/or members, and a description of current business activities.

Annual reports are submitted yearly to the Secretary of State by a specific deadline. What happens if you fail to file an annual report in time? A small business may be charged with penalties and late fees from the state. In some cases, they may be subject to a suspension or dissolution of the business entirely.

Get a certificate of good standing

Did you move your mom and pop shop to a new location? Are you in the midst of moving right now? Staying in compliance means that it’s time to order certificates of good standing.

What’s a certificate of good standing? This certificate is issued by a state official as evidence that your LLC or corporation is in existence. Therefore, it may transact business in that state — good news for small businesses moving to new locations!

Do mom and pop shops need a certificate of good standing for anything else? Other situations where this document is required include obtaining financing, renewing licenses, opening a business bank account, and selling the business.

Get required business licenses

Did your mom and pop shop create a new division where certain business licenses are required to run it? If you answered yes, the next step is pretty easy to figure out. It’s time to apply for and get that business license.

Business licenses do more than allow mom and pop shops to legally operate their businesses. These government-issued documents accomplish four core tasks.

  1. A business license identifies the business and holds it accountable for its actions.
  2. It tracks the activities of the business for tax purposes.
  3. It serves as a notice to citizens of activities that could impact them.
  4. Business licenses protect public health. A licensed small business has met its minimum requirements and is much more credible to consumers than one without a license.

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What happens if I don’t have a business license, but I keep conducting business? Not having the proper business licenses puts your shop in danger of being fined and even shut down. If you know you need a certain license, it’s best to file for a business license as quickly as possible. This ensures that you have peace of mind in operating the business and are staying within city, state and county requirements.

Today, we celebrate the owners of Main Street’s businesses with the recognition of National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. If you’re a small business owner, let us know in the comments below!

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