If you’re a business owner already, or are thinking of starting a business, you need to get savvy about what you can and can’t do.
You need to protect yourself and your investment, as well as being able to trade in a way that takes advantage of any benefits provided to you under law. These legal tips are the essentials you need to run a business without fear of legal threat.
1. Protect your assets
When it comes to money, how do you separate what is yours from what belongs to the business? You need to have a clear answer to that. Protect yourself and your personal assets by creating a limited company. This means that if the company fails and goes into debt, you won’t need to provide your own money in order to pay them off – in simple terms.
2. Always get contracts
Contracts and NDAs are everything in business. If it isn’t written down in a legal contract, then you have no legal standing. Verbal agreements may be honoured, but they can’t be proven in a court of law unless you have impartial witnesses, and even then, they can be shaky. For every piece of work that you do, and every piece of work done for you, make sure that you have a written and signed contract.
3. Pay your taxes
If you don’t understand the tax system, then it’s time to get an accountant as soon as possible. Not only will they help you to ensure that you never end up evading your taxes or breaking the law by accident, but they will also most likely be able to save you some money. The tax system can be incredibly complex, and even more so the larger your business becomes, so don’t take any chances.
4. Know your advertising
Advertising law is very strict, and especially when you’re trying to launch a new product or service, you might not realise that you’re breaking it. There are a lot of regulations about what you can and can’t say – for example, you shouldn’t make claims about the benefits of your product or service if you can’t back them up with proof. You also need to be very careful with social media, so maybe speak to a lawyer before running a campaign just in case. You should especially get careful advice about products or services for children and teens, which are subject to even stricter laws.
5. Employ fairly
When you’re choosing your team, creating work contracts, and dismissing or firing employees, you always need to treat people fairly and equally. Abide by employment law and never allow any hint of discrimination, or you could land up in very big trouble.
6. Safeguard your secrets
Do you have a secret formula, brand new product, or inventive name that you wouldn’t want others to steal? If so, protect them immediately. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks are all different kinds of protection that you can apply for. Research which applies most to your situation and then get this protection into place as soon as possible.
7. Protect customer's privacy
With the recent advent of the GDPR having shaken up the internet world on quite a large scale, the privacy of your customers should be high in your priorities. You need to be very careful about how you collect, store, use, and destroy customer information. Any misstep and you could be in trouble with both your customers and regulators.
There are so many legal angles to think about as a business owner, but unfortunately, there’s no excuse for getting it wrong. Study up now to avoid any problems in the future!