One of the best ways to make sure your company is protected is to surround yourself with hard-working, honest, and professional individuals who share your business goals.
Lawsuits in business are not uncommon. Several successful business owners will likely face a lawsuit at some point. You may not always be able to avoid this if you own a company, but there are some steps you should take to decrease your chances of having to go to court due to an employment dispute. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind.
Improve Your Communication
If you don’t want to have to call an L&I attorney to represent you in court, you should make your expectations clear to your customers, competitors, and employees. Make it a point not to over-promise in your business dealings. If you can’t fulfill your obligations, let all involved parties know as soon as you can. Come up with a solution that will solve the issue. Follow up with business associates, team members, and clients to come up with a new agreement and to show that you’re willing to do what it takes to make the situation right.
Don’t try to avoid challenging situations or discussions. This usually makes things worse and causes your clients not to trust that you’ll deliver the products or services you advertise. Your employees will also deem you untrustworthy which could lead to a loss of team members. Think about how you want to be perceived and remember that emails and texts can sometimes give off a tone you didn’t intend. Choose your words carefully and encourage your employees to contact you with any questions. In certain instances, you’ll have to swallow your pride and apologize when necessary. This can help you avoid legal issues in the future.
To protect yourself and your company, make sure all important communication and company practices are documented. Keep all emails between you and your employees and organize them in a filing system so they are easy to find. Don’t make verbal deals with business partners or employees — make sure you have all the terms of the deal in writing. It’s also a good idea to create your own templates for contracts instead of getting templates from Google.
Be sure to have a professional review all the contracts you have with employees, vendors, and business partners. This will give you a thorough understanding of the terms of the contract. Hire an attorney to help you compose your written policies, non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and employee handbooks. Make sure you save all of your contracts and important documents so you can access them when necessary.
Go Over Your Insurance Policies
Insurance probably isn’t your favorite topic as a business owner, but it’s a vital aspect of running a company. Insurance helps you mitigate risks, so make sure that all your current policies are correct and shop around for the best policies for your type of business. You should also make sure the insurer you’re considering works with businesses that are specific to your industry. You should also go over all the types of policies you’ll need, such as errors and omissions, general commercial liability, workers comp, product liability, auto, and property insurance.
Before you sign for any policy, be sure that you have a clear understanding of your obligations, which could include cooperating if there is an investigation or providing necessary documents to the insurance company or an attorney.
Go Over Your Business Formation
Sometimes, company owners are shocked to learn that the structure of their business is not in line with their industry. You can minimize liability by having the right legal counsel on your side to advise you on the right corporate entity for your company. Be sure to keep appropriate annual reports, corporate records, and meeting minutes in a safe place so you can access them any time you need them. It’s also crucial to adhere to all regulations and formalities to make sure your business is protected from personal liability. This will help you avoid business litigation and employee disputes
In addition to these practical tips, it’s also important to work with the right people. One of the best ways to make sure your company is protected is to surround yourself with hard-working, honest, and professional individuals who share your business goals. Your legal team, as well as your business associates with employees, can help move your business forward and improve your reputation in the professional world, so be sure to choose wisely.