Protect Your Business and Professional Services

Information on bonding, insurance, and intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, patents).  Links to sources for accountants, lawyers, insurers, bankers, website designers, and trade groups.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonding

 

If you are a business owner with only a few employees, for example, a cleaning or pet-sitting service, you may want to be bonded. The bond would reimburse the client for loss of stolen items as a result of one of your dishonest employees, but they would have to be caught and convicted before the bond holder would pay.

 

If you are a business owner with no employees, you may still want to consider being bonded. As a business owner, you know that you would not steal from your clients; however, to your clients you are a complete stranger, and being bonded is that extra reassurance for your potential customers, but many people feel that insurance is all that you need and bonding is unnecessary. Speak with an attorney or an accountant who will help you make that decision.

 

Simply put a bond, sometimes called a surety bond, is given to your by a third party who promises to pay if you do not fulfill your work obligations under a contract. It is a financial guarantee that you will honor a business contract.  Frequently a customer will require that your company be bonded.

 

There are various types of bonds:

 

  • License: a specialty bond that is required by some states. This is where you pay the state directly rather than obtaining a bond
  • Performance:  a guarantee that you will do your work as stated in the contract
  • Bid: a guarantee you will perform the work that you bid on
  • Indemnity;  bond says that you will promise to reimburse any loss that would happen if you don't do the job
  • Payment: bond says you promise to pay all subcontractors and material providers utilized in the performance of a contract.

 

As the Principle to the bond you will be required to provide your personal information and probably your spouse's personal information and the information that will actually appear on the bond, mainly your businesses name and address, before you can get a bond.

 

To obtain a bond:

 

  1. Locate a bonding company through the internet or yellow pages and talk to them about your need for a bond. They will ask for your personal information.  This information will include the name and address of obligee which is usually local or state government, the type of bond your are required to have and the amount the bond.
  2. You will need to complete an application to the bonding company. You may want to at this point, have an attorney look over the application and the documentation so that you completely understand what it does and does not cover.
  3. The bonding company will do a very complete back ground check on you, to find out if you are a honest and trustworthy person, with no criminal record. The background check will consist of speaking to previous employers, personal character references, and a computer check of the national and state records of criminal convictions.
  4. If the bonding company is satisfied with your background they will offer to bond you. This means that you have been offered an insurance coverage that will pay you in case of damage or theft.
  5. At this point you can sign the indemnity agreement and pay the premium and forward the info to the obligee.      

 

  SBA Surety Bond Guarantee                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

                                        

 

 

Insurance

 

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

A business with employees must purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance.  Corporate officers, members of an LLC, a sole proprietor, and partners must also be covered unless they own at least 10% of the business in which case a rejection of coverage must be filed with the Department of Labor.   Employers must purchase insurance coverage through a private insurance company or, if qualified, through self-insurance programs.  No portion of this cost may be deducted from an employee's wages. 

Pinnacol Insurance

 

 

Colorado Division of Insurance

Part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies.  Regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues.

 

1560 Broadway, Suite 850

Denver, CO 80202

 

Phone:   (303) 894-7499

(303) 894-7490 - Consumer Information

(800) 930-3745 - Toll Free

FAX:      (303) 894-7455

 

 

 

Other Insurance

Contact a local business insurance broker or agent to handle these optional insurance needs: Liability, Property, Business Interruption, Disability, Life, Health, Surety Bond Guarantee, Fidelity Bond, Earthquake/Flood, Retail Sales Tax Bond

 

Independent  Insurance Agents and Brokers of America

 

Insurance Noodle

Small business insurance from several sources

 

Health Savings Accounts (HSA's)

Small Business Administration site 

 

Health Insurance Association of America – guides on various types of insurance
 
Research, compare, apply for and purchase health insurance plans
 
Consumer guides for obtaining and keeping health insurance in each state
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

                                        

 

 

 

Intellectual Property

 

Patents

In general, patents are granted for 20 years.  Federal Registration – U.S. Patent and Trademark Office;  There are basic filing fees for utility patent applications, design applications, and plant applications. If the owner of the invention qualifies as a small entity (that is an independent inventor, a small business, or a nonprofit organization), the filing fees are reduced by half if the small entity status is claimed.   There are numerous books on how to apply for a patent yourself, e.g. "Patent It Yourself", by David Pressman.
 

Fees for USPTO

Pro Bono Program at USPTO

 

Website for and by inventors.

 

Site for free patent searching

 

Invention Promotion Firms – information on avoiding being scammed

 

Inventions Help

 

Invention Development and Market Research. Buy the book.

 

 

 

Copyrights

Library of Congress; basic registration fee is $30.

 

 

Trademarks

State registration - Colorado Secretary of State ($125 if filed on paper) .  Federal Registration – U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – see fee schedule under Patents.

 

Phone:    (800)-786-9199 – Trademark Assistance Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                        

 

  

 

 

 

Accountants

Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants

 

Colorado Board of Accountancy

 

Quickbooks - accounting and tax advice

 

 

 

 

 

Lawyers

 

Colorado Bar Association

 

Denver Bar Association

 

Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service

 

Colorado Lawyers for the Arts (CoLA)

 

Nolo Law Centers - Legal information for business

 

Legalzoom - Online legal documents

 

 

                                  

 

 

Purchasing

 
Guide to 46,000 companies
 
E-marketplace for small business purchasing
 
Find companies and products manufactured in North America
 
 
 
 

Sales & Marketing

 
Marketing resources and tips.
 
Marketing research directory
 
Business development, community facts, real estate information
 
The Markets Division helps Colorado food and agricultural companies sell their products in local, regional, national and international markets.
 
Guidelines and news, direct marketing
 
Provider of Internet statistics and reports
 
Market research, federal statistics
 
Information on all companies in USA for sales leads, also mailing lists.
 
Dictionary of day-to-day marketing terminology
 
Excellent source of marketing advice
 
Advice and upcoming events from this trade association
 
Article on seven common point of sales mistakes
 
Resource for broadcasting PR materials
 
Marketing assistance – branding, planning, design, advertising
 
Data on shows and conferences, including e-commerce opportunities
 
Required to sell products in retail environment, UPC
 
Population counts, maps, demographic info with links to every region in U.S.
 
Sales leads and mailing lists – company profiles, industry reports, customer-base analysis, and prospect lists.
 
 
                                  
 
 
 
 

Technology

 
Educational Society for Resource Management — formerly American Production and Inventory Control Society – educational programs for organizational success
 
Some how-to information, especially helpful for Mac users.
 
Develop leading edge thinking and practice on contemporary business, technology, and knowledge management issues to facilitate organizational and individual performance, success, and fulfillment.
 
Grows the bioscience workforce, provides networking opportunities, educational and technical programs, creates corporate partnerships and finds investors.
 
Fosters innovation and growth for the technology industry
 
Expert financial and business volunteers whom mentor entrepreneurs working with innovative technologies.
 
Manufacturing information
 
Office templates – great business plan modelResource for broadcasting PR materials
 
The National Academies bring together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public. Four organizations comprise the Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.
 
Mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.
 
Publication by industry of NAICS, National Association of Industrial Classification Systems - replaces SIC
 
Federal programs that encourage small business to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization.
 
Innovation is a buzzword these days, and with good reason: it's emerging as one of the most important duties of management. Contains stories, articles, links and useful resources.
 
 
 
                                  
 
 

Trade Groups

 
 
 
 
Leads, research, trade shows
 
Locates business assistance
 
Small business lobbying organization
 
 
 
                                  
 

 

The ethical watchdog. Consumer business tips.