Starting a small business is difficult enough as is without any legal potholes or problems. As a small business owner you have enough to worry about, and you don’t want to be stressing out about business law. We can help your business stand on its own two feet, make sure it’s legally protected and offer advice on the best practices moving forward. However, for some simple tips that can be easily followed, take a look at this list we created of easy ways to avoid legal issues for your small business.
1. Document Everything
Verbal agreements simply do not cut it in the business world. Make sure everything you need important to the business is in writing. Even if you are working with a friend or something is a loose agreement, having everything you need documented is an easy way to manage accountability and back up each agreement and contract.
2. Intellectual Property is Just as Important
A common misconception is that materialistic items and resources are more valuable than intellectual property. However, more often than not it is actually the opposite! Materialistic things can be replaced, but if an idea is stolen, there is no way to replace the value. One of the biggest ways to protect your thoughts, ideas and the intellectual property of your company is to get specific. Have employees, contractors and anyone else working closely with the company sign a confidentiality agreement. Trademark any sort of logo, print or name vital to the company. Print copyright warnings on any published works.
3. Create Employee Guidelines and Resources
The best way to avoid any legal issues regarding employees is to provide as much direction and an abundance of resources from the beginning. The way your employees are initially introduced to the company sets the tone for the entire business. Provide your employees with all agreements and contracts that need to be signed, in addition to an employee agreement. Regardless of whom you are hiring, an employee agreement is essential for everyone. It outlines the expectations, rules to follow and standards expected.
4. Always Be Specific
There is no such thing as too many legal documents for a business. The more, the merrier! Don’t shorten any document or summarize any agreement. Be as specific as possible with each and every item regarding the business functions, employees, guidelines, practices, ect. We understand this can be an incredibly overwhelming task, so, many times this is where your lawyer comes in! The lawyer can help draw up documents, include anything you forgot, or advise businesses on the proper way to word certain things.
5. Protect Yourself and Your Business
At the end of the day, the very best way to protect yourself as a business owner, and the business itself, is to lawyer up! As much as you can do on your own, a lawyer has the knowledge and experience to help with all of the things you may not think of or most likely need assistance with. Having a good legal team behind your company can sometimes make or break the business. You want to find a lawyer who understands and can meet the needs of your business.
Here at Von Esch Law, we have over 20 years of experience in business law and can help you with whatever you specialize in. We can assist you in writing contracts, drawing up agreements or simply offering advice on good legal practices. Give us a call today!