As The Huffington Post states in a recent article, "shoring up your company's legal preparedness may not be the most exciting New Year's resolution, it can be one of the most critical." Here were their four ways to do precisely that:

1.) Your Incorporation Resolution - The New Year is one of the best times to incorporate. You'll save time down the line because the business won't need to file separate tax returns for the unincorporated entity and the new C-Corp, S-Corp or LLC. Or you can opt to file before the end of 2014, but with a delayed-effective filing date of January 2015. Doing so means you will be exempt from paying a yearly government tax for only a few weeks of service, enjoy faster processing without paying for it and give yourself some extra time to sort out your documentation.

2.) Get it in Writing - Almost 40 percent of small businesses reported having legal problems with contracts in 2013, either with negotiations or failure to collect payments. In an effort to prevent these issues, always put the agreed upon deal in a written contract that defines the scope of work.

3.) Payment Plans - Be clear with your customers about expected payment terms, and always ask for a second contact to use when sending invoices. Be sure also to establish a definitive due date, but count on at least some percentage of late payments when doing your financial planning. And remember that it's important to create a legally binding contract outlining your agreements, especially when dealing with vendors.

4.) Keep Good Counsel - With so many small businesses facing legal issues, naturally, having a good business attorney can mean the difference between success and failure. While you may not be able to afford to keep one on retainer, tapping into online legal services can help to mitigate costs while receiving necessary services.

Want access to the Huffington Post's original article? Click here.