The legal side of running a business can often be confusing. There are so many laws to abide and so many weaknesses that other people can legally take advantage of without the right protection in place.
For many people, it’s a case of having to learn on the job. Fortunately, there are ways of simplifying business law by hiring the help of professionals and taking measures to keep legal matters organized.
Here are just some of the ways that you can keep your business legally tight without getting too much of a headache.
#1 Have a Solicitor On Call
Solicitors are worthwhile having by your side, even before you’ve set up your business. From the very beginning, they can be helpful for assisting you when choosing the right kind of business structure whether this happens to be a partnership or a sole proprietorship.
They can then advise you on the permits and licenses that you may need to run your business legally. For example, a bar may need an alcohol, food and music license. Solicitors can also help you when hiring your first staff, ensuring that you have requirements in place and that your employees are fairly treated.
On top of helping with these aspects of business, a solicitor is handy to have for helping with any legal trouble you may come into that hasn’t been protected against.
They may be able to defend you against a lawsuit or advise on steps to take before it gets to this stage if you’re dealing with a difficult employee or client.
#2 Get Contracts Professionally Written
Written contracts are a much-needed part of a business. They can help to secure an agreement between you and an employee during the hiring process, as well as securing agreements between you and your clients.
Contract writing is complicated stuff – a badly written contract may contain loopholes that can be taken advantage of. For ultimate security, you’re best getting contracts professionally written by a legal writer or solicitor.
#3 Have a Health and Safety Audit
You can protect yourself from lawsuits and keep your customers and employees happy by ensuring that your business is on top of health and safety.
Whilst you may be able to identify obvious health and safety features worth implementing, others may be less noticeable. Paying for a health and safety audit could help to identify any weaknesses in your business that need to be addressed.
This could involve putting in extra fire safety features in your office or display warning signs (such as ‘caution hot water’ over a tap). It may even help you to build a health and safety handbook for your employees.
#4 Organise Your Legal Paperwork
Whilst running your business, you’ll have to sign and sanction all sorts of legal paperwork. Keeping this in an organized place can protect you in the future by allowing you to easily pick out a document when you need it rather than rummaging around.
Installing easy to use legal entity management software might allow you to keep a digital record of all this paperwork. You may still wish to keep some physical backups, which should be filed appropriately or kept locked in a safe.
#5 Keep Your Finances in Check
As a business owner, you need to keep clear records of your finances to prove that you’re paying the right amount of tax.
Many companies hire an accountant to help organize their finances as it can be a time-consuming and difficult job. Chartered accountants are often the most reliable, although they do cost more than non-chartered ones.
Alternatively, you may be able to calculate your own tax using accounting software. Getting your head around financial law may involve getting help from a financial advisor.
These advisors can also help you identify tax-deductible expenses that you could be taking advantage of whilst also helping you to streamline your business.
#6 Insure Yourself Against Lawsuits
In some cases, you may be able to avoid having to deal with costly lawsuits by insuring yourself. More companies are taking out cyberinsurance to protect them against the possible ramifications of a data hack.
Clients or employees that have had their data stolen might threaten to sue. Whilst cyber insurance won’t prevent this from happening, it could help pay for any legal compensation.
There are other voluntary insurance schemes out there for businesses including product liability insurance and business interruption insurance, which may also help to pay for a lawsuit made against you.
Of course, certain health and safety and security features may be able to lower the risk of such a lawsuit by removing dangers. They’ll also lower your insurance rates.
#7 Read Books and Blogs on Business Law
The best way that you can get to grips with business law is to educate yourself by reading up various aspects you’re unclear of.
There are lots of business books out there that are written in layman’s terms in order to clear up difficult business legal matters. You should look out for publications that are new (so that you know any advice isn’t outdated) as well as publications that are well received (you don’t want to buy a book that gives out bad advice).
There are also many blogs out there that can help to explain aspects of business law for free.
On top of reading books and blogs, you may also want to consider attending a business law seminar. These are often run by legal professionals who can help to explain various legal matters from health and safety to writing contracts.
This might allow for a more interactive learning process that might help some people to learn more effectively.