Running a business can be challenging and stressful. You must juggle many tasks at once, from Employee Onboarding Software to staying updated on labour and employment law developments.
But, no matter how difficult it is, you must not let those difficulties distract you from your legal obligations. The more you understand legal obligations, the less likely you are to be caught off guard by an unexpected event.
As a business owner, you should be aware that your company must be legally protected. Many things can go wrong with your business, and you must take the necessary precautions to avoid legal problems. If it is not properly safeguarded, others can steal your ideas, copy your products, or you can lose your business entirely.
In this guide, we go over some of the most common legal ways to protect your business and ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Structure Your Company
When you register your business, you will be asked to select a business structure, which will determine how much you pay in taxes as well as your personal liability. Your options are choosing between sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or S corporation.
Take care of this when you are designing your business plan. While your decision will be influenced by a variety of factors, many businesses form an LLC to separate their personal assets (home, vehicle, savings) from their business assets.
Get Legal Help
When running a business, it is critical to have reliable legal counsel to ensure your actions are proactive. Ongoing legal support of your business ensures that you are taking the necessary steps to protect your company and its assets as it grows.
The appropriate response is critical if legal action is taken against you or your company. Working with a litigation law firm will be your best investment. Getting in touch with professionals who are familiar with your business and understand the environment in which it operates ensures ongoing legal protection for your business.
Get Business Insurance to Legally Protect Yourself
This element may appear to be common sense, but business owners ignore it. If you, your employees, your products, or your services face legal claims, the policies included in liability insurance will help provide defense and damages.
Before deciding which insurance policy is best for your company, you should first understand the risks that your company may face. As your business progresses through its life cycle, you must consider new risks and reassess your insurance policy to ensure it aligns with your business functions and the industry in which you operate.
Options you can consider when getting business insurance are:
- General Liability Insurance – Things that happen to you, your employees, or your commercial property are not covered by general liability insurance.
- Professional liability insurance – This type of insurance covers costs incurred as a result of errors in your work.
- Commercial auto insurance – It covers damage to commercial vehicles and property.
- Workers’ compensation insurance, etc.
Always Use Contracts
Although it may be tempting to text, email, or Facebook message prospective clients, this is one area where pen and paper (or digital paper) still reign supreme. Any agreement to collaborate on services or products should be in writing and accompanied by a contract.
The contract should specify what is and isn’t included, payment terms, your disclaimer, and your company’s policies. If any problems arise, you can always refer back to your contract.
If you have your clients sign an “official” contract, they will also pay on time, follow your policies, and be clearer on what is included.
Keep Your Files and Ideas Safe
Your ideas are priceless! They are the first step that inspired you to start the business and keep going. Therefore, it is critical to legally protect these concepts and your business. Whether you use a cloud service to back up your files or a local database, taking the time to implement these procedures is critical.
In addition to ensuring the security of ideas and corporate files, many organizations appear to fall short in another area: the proper storage and disposal of confidential employee information.
You must follow legal procedures when collecting, retaining, and securely disposing of confidential information. Failure to do so may result in unwanted legal challenges for you and your company.
Be Cautious When Collaborating With Third-party Vendors
If you intend to outsource aspects of your business to another company, you must ensure that you will not be held liable for their actions. For example, if they are not fair to their employees in terms of health and safety, pay, or ethical working practices, their reputation may suffer as a result.
It is also critical that you read the fine print of any contracts you sign with suppliers, question any points that do not sit well with you and do not be afraid to bargain.
Protect Your Website
Make sure you’re safeguarding yourself, your company, and its content via your website. Each website should ideally include a privacy statement, terms and conditions, and a disclaimer.
Having a clear “sharing” policy on your site, preferably in your terms and conditions, is one of the simplest ways to ensure you get credit where credit is due. This is where you should outline the steps someone must take to share your post, recipe, photos, and so on. The issues that your sharing policy should address are:
- Is it necessary for them to email someone at your company? Who?
- Can they share as long as they link back and give credit?
- Can they make use of your photographs?
In addition, a website disclaimer informs your readers about who you are, what you do, and how qualified you are. Finally, your terms and conditions page/contract is where you can establish the ground rules for using your website.
As challenging as it may appear, protecting your business from a legal standpoint is incredibly important. Whether it’s your company name, logo, creative content, or business ideas (your intellectual property), you should ensure that you’re taking all the necessary steps to protect every aspect of your business properly.