Do you have a friend or family member who has successfully run their own business from the ground up? You should ask them if they can set time aside to answer some of your biggest questions.
When you start your own business you will see that there are many different aspects of the business that need to be taken care of. You may have heard or noticed that a lot of small businesses fail within the first year of opening. You may wonder why. Even well-intentioned people make small mistakes that turn bigger and they end up in legal trouble. Continue reading for tips on how to avoid these legal issues in business.
Enforce Online Standards
It is definitely worth the time and effort to build and maintain a website for your business. This allows your small business to be visible at all times. However, once the website is built, you will need to research and enforce online standards and terms and conditions. If you are considering wholesale distribution or any other type of online sales, it is worth the investment to pay legal counsel to regularly review your online sales of purchase terms. This will ensure that you are doing smart business, and most importantly, legal transactions. These laws can vary from state to state, but most laws are well developed.
Keep Confidential Things Private
You may be hiring employees or assistants to help run your business with or for you. It is normal for you to ask that your employees and business partners keep certain things about your business confidential. In order for this to work properly, you must ask yourself and acknowledge what exactly do you want to keep confidential? Realistically, not everything within your business is personal. You may believe that your customer list is protected, but do you list well-known customers on your website or advertisements? You have to be intentional about keeping certain files and documents private by keeping them in password-protected folders.
Know “The Four C’s” of Contracts
When it comes to contracts that you create for business partners, vendors, and customers, you must make sure that they are thorough. One way to do this is to follow the “Four C’s of Contracts.” The first C stands for Clear. Your contracts must be easy to read and easy to understand, especially if you expect other people to adhere to them.
The second C stands for Current. In current times, some of what you used to include in your contracts ten or even five years ago, is no longer relevant. Be sure to include information pertaining to social media and other current matters. The third C stands for Conciliation. How will you handle conflicts or disputes when they arise? Be sure to include that in the contract. And the final C stands for Costs. Who will pay for the legal fees if an issue arises? Be specific in your contracts.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
It will always be in your best interest to confide in legal counsel at every stage and creation of business. This is especially important in the early stages. It will probably cost you less money to catch things early on than it would to fight in court later on. Keep in mind that there are federal, state, and local laws that you must follow. Most people do not have these rules and regulations memorized, so hiring an attorney that specializes in business law will be to your benefit. If you see that some sort of litigation is inevitable, be sure to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Find a Mentor
Do you have a friend or family member who has successfully run their own business from the ground up? You should ask them if they can set time aside to answer some of your biggest questions. In order to prepare, you can write your questions down in advance so that you do not forget them, and also take a pen or pencil to write down their answers.
You could even ask if you can shadow them for a day and see how they manage each task. How do they stay organized? How do they talk to their customers? Pay attention to what makes them successful so that you can emulate it.