fireworks-535198_1280-1.jpgAs the holidays approach, many of us get caught up in planning and preparing and various family events and functions, and our focus on work can begin to wane, if only slightly. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing — after all, many of us work hard throughout the year in part to be able to enjoy this time with family. But the holidays also herald the end of the calendar year, and that offers an opportunity to examine both yourself and your business.

Rare is the small business owner or employee who isn't exceedingly busy. And when you're busy, you can put off some tasks that you know you need to handle eventually in favor of more pressing concerns.

But when it comes to the long term viability of your business, is there any such thing as short term versus long term issues? Decisions made in the early days of your startup can have long term implications, just as things left undone can come back to haunt you later in the life of your company. Most decisions beyond the level of desks and printers will have some bearing on your business' future, so why not strive to make the necessary choices early?

Intellectual property is the lifeblood of any business, but it often doesn't get its due. Sales represent tangible proof of growth, and funding is what allows a business to continue developing ad adding employees. But what are you selling to customers and investors but your ideas? Your IP is the foundation of your business, and you want to make sure your foundation is solid as you continue to build on top of it.

Protecting your intellectual property isn't the most exciting of tasks, but it is vital to protecting your business. Most of your company's value is tied up in your intellectual property, and not having the necessary protection on it leaves it vulnerable to theft and infringement. Setting aside time to understand what your company's intellectual property is and developing a plan on how to protect it, as well as how to identify and protect your future innovation, is an important part of planning for your future.

As you look forward to 2017, you want to start the year with your best foot forward. And being able to say that you have your company positioned for success with a thought-out plan for your IP to help minimize your risks is a great start.

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