Running a successful small business is a real achievement. While every day brings the chance for new triumphs, there is also the risk of new troubles. Though some issues can’t be anticipated, careful planning can avoid others, and this is particularly true of legal issues. Familiarizing yourself the most common small business legal issues is one way to prevent yourself from facing them: Another way is to enlist the help of an experienced small business attorney who can help you navigate past these and other legal headaches.
- Acting As Your Own Attorney … Especially When You Aren’t One
One of the top reasons small businesses encounter legal issues is that they decide they don’t need to use an attorney. It’s easy to understand why so many people do this… after all, legal fees can be daunting. But lawyers have special training in the correct way to establish a business entity, draw up contracts and succession plans, address employment issues and more. Trying to fake your way through may save you money in the short term, but it is a recipe for an expensive legal disaster in the long run.
- Not Creating Formal Contracts
This fits into a similar category as foregoing an attorney. Though you may sense that you can trust a vendor or contractor and negotiate handshake deals as a matter of mutual understanding and respect, doing so leaves you with few remedies in case something goes wrong. Having a legal contract in place for every deal, large and small, eliminates the majority of legal questions and helps you stay out of court. Even better, if you do need to litigate, you have a document that clearly spells out the expectations of both sides so that it is easy to tell who fell short or did not keep their word.
- Not Attending to Important Issues like Employment Contracts, Employee Policies, and Succession Plans
When you are just starting out, it is hard to imagine that one day you or one of your partners will want to step away, or even that you will have employees for whom you need contracts, policies, and benefits. Unfortunately, putting off creating a succession plan, an employee handbook or employment contracts may leave you facing uncertainty and legal ramifications when you decide that you want to fire somebody, don’t want to hire somebody, aren’t sure how to compensate an employee, or face similar situations.
The best way to limit court and litigation fees is to avoid having to pay them in the first place. Working with an experienced small business attorney will help you set up your business in a way that protects your interests and avoid the legal pitfalls that so many others face. Contact our team today!