Owning a business involves keeping on top of all kinds of legislation. Not knowing your rights can get you into all kinds of trouble. Defend your business against fines and lawsuits by keeping on top of these commonly overlooked areas and taking the appropriate measures.
Consider your business name
A name means everything to a business. However, have you checked to see that there aren’t any other businesses out there using your name? The last thing you want after having shelled out on branded pens, leaflets, signage and a website is to have to change your name, because a similar business to yours has a similar name, and is now legally demanding you change it. Consider options such as adding ‘services’ or ‘ltd’ to the end of your business name – you may not have to change your business name entirely to stay safe.
Get the right licenses
Various trades may require specific licenses to carry out certain tasks. Selling food in most places requires a Food Vendors license for example, just as you may need a license to handle hazardous materials if you’re a transport or removals company. Check that you’ve earned all the licenses you can to avoid a hefty fine.
Legally binding contracts are important in most businesses for working with clients, taking on employers and outsourcing workers. Digital technology is now making the process of writing contracts simpler and more secure. Having a digital copy can protect against the loss or damage of a physical copy. There are also programmes now that can help you write these contracts – searching online can help you find the right software option for contract management for your company. Update these contracts to suit the changing methods of your business.
Swot up on employee rights before hiring staff
Taking on employees can open you up to a whole new world of legal responsibility. On top of compulsory liability insurance, you also have to adhere by various health and safety laws and anti-discrimination laws, as well as providing pay when your employees are sick or absent. Laws keep on changing (for example, paying for overtime is now becoming compulsory in some countries and states) so keep on top of these changing laws to avoid getting into trouble.
Hire professional advisors
There’s so much legislation out there that it pays to have a professional legal advisor on call. Not only will such an advisor be able to help you abide by all the laws in place, they’ll also be able to help you exploit some of the laws in place to your advantage. There may be expenses that you haven’t been taking off your tax and a way of restructuring your business that could have you paying out less. On top of this, there are all kinds of loans and grants available that you could be eligible to. Lawyers, financial advisors and risk assessors can all be useful at pointing you in the right direction.