Along with all the other things you need to deal with as a new business owner, one of the most important things you must do, is familiarize yourself with the law. Regardless of what type of business you have launched, it is essential that you know how to stay within the law.
If you are not informed about what you can and cannot do as a business owner, then you could end up breaking the law and incurring a hefty fine or even, prison time. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to know and understand the legal requirements you must adhere to.
It is important to remember that business law is not only in place to protect your clients, but also to protect you and your business. Business laws comprise of different legislation that protects businesses from competitors, suppliers, and employees.
As a new business owner, it can be difficult to get your head around all the legal do’s and don’ts. That’s why we have put together this simple guide to help you.
For everything you need to know about law for business owners, have a read of this:
Get yourself an attorney
As a new business owner, you probably have enough to think about without adding law into the mix. Hire an attorney to help you deal with the legal side of running a business. This might cost a bit, but it will make the legal side of being a business owner, much simpler.
Look for a lawyer who specializes in business law, has at least five years experience and is reliable and easy to talk to. Hiring someone who is easy to build a rapport with is a good idea, especially if you plan on using them to deal with your businesses legal issues for the foreseeable future.
Learn about licensing laws
Did you know that certain businesses need to acquire a license from their local authority in order to be able to operate legally? Do you know if your business requires a license to operate? No – well, you should.
The types of businesses that require a license to operate range from taxi firms and pet shops to restaurants and beauty parlors. Each type of business requires a different kind of license and registration. For example, for a childminding business you need to register with various inspectors and get a range of licenses.
If you are unsure whether your business requires a license or registration, make an appointment to speak to your lawyer about it. They should be able to advise you on what you need to do.
Insure your business
It is crucial that your business is properly insured, regardless of how safe or secure you believe it is. However, while some types of insurance are compulsory for certain businesses, others are optional. This depends on the type of business you are running and where you are located.
For instance, almost all business owners must have employee liability insurance. This covers any workplace accidents. If you use vehicles as part of your business, such as delivery vehicles or company cars, you must have them adequately insured. The insurance you need will depend on what the vehicles are used for.
Understand health and safety rules
While not all new businesses are required to register with the local authority, if your company deals with hazardous substances then you may need to. This is because you may need a certain license in order to be able to operate legally.
Before you begin trading, make sure that you have completed all health and safety registration forms. And, have all the adequate licenses and insurance in place.
Protect your ideas and inventions
As a business owner, your ideas for your business are crucial to your success. So it is important that you know how to properly safeguard them. An important part of the law for business owners is knowing how to protect your ideas, services and products from your competitors.
Sadly, idea theft is fairly common among business owners, which is why it is so crucial that new business owners are aware of how they can legally protect themselves. But what is the best way to go about this?
There are various ways business owners can protect their ideas and creations from theft; an effective way is via a non-disclosure agreement. If you are planning on showcasing your idea to an investor, you can protect yourself and the idea by asking your attorney to draw up non-disclosure agreements to be signed.
Another way you can safeguard an idea is by applying for a patent for it. A patent can be used to protect your idea or product for the first year, preventing other companies from copying it. While getting a patent for your idea can be a little pricey and long winded, it is a fantastic way to safeguard it from your competitors.
If the idea of naming your product or idea after your company appeals to you, then you can add an extra layer of protection by trademarking your company name. This will prevent other companies from using the name of your product for their own copycat version.
Keep on top of your finances
An important legal requirement of running your own business is keeping on top of your finances, including bill payments and social security payments, etc.
If you struggle to keep on top of everything yourself, it might be a good idea to outsource your accountants to a qualified professional or hire someone to work for you in-house. Just make sure that whatever you choose to do, that you keep on top of all business bills and payments. Otherwise, you could end up getting in trouble.
As a business owner, it is your job to ensure that your business is operating legally. However, if you are unsure of all the legal ins and outs, it is advisable to get some help and hire a reliable attorney to ensure that you stay within the law.