Opening your own business and being your own boss is a dream come true, but the advantages that it offers also come with significant risks and responsibilities. At the same time that you take on the tasks of promoting your business and providing for your clientele, you also need to look out for your own interests. Fortunately, a few simple steps can go a long way towards proving yourself with the legal protection that your small business needs.
- Skip the handshake and stick to written contracts – Trusting others is a tried-and-true tradition among business people, but it can also lead to disappointment. We recommend that you skip making oral agreements and document all contracts in writing, with both parties signing off.
- Make sure that all of your paperwork is current – Whether it’s your business license, credentials, tax papers, or general ledger, make sure that every important document is kept current and all of your fees have been paid. This is particularly important if there is any kind of change in your personal status or in the ownership of your business. Each change needs to be reflected.
- Educate yourself on important business principles. The more you know and understand about your financial obligations, intellectual property, employment and labor laws, and about fraud in marketing and advertising, the more ethically and responsibly you will be able to operate your business and respond to misbehaviors on the part of others.
- Take ownership of your intellectual property – Intellectual property encompasses a great deal of what makes your small business unique. Failing to register trademarks and copyrights leaves you vulnerable to somebody else using the very ideas and processes that you hope to leverage for future success.
- Get legal advice – From the formation of your business and selection of the type of entity you’ll choose, to crafting employment agreements, handbooks, purchase orders, and service contracts, it is essential that you have the assistance of an attorney who specializes in the needs of small businesses.
Running a small business can be hectic and overwhelming, and it is easy to skip the steps above in the rush to attend to other high-priority needs. But by taking the time to protect yourself now, you can save yourself significant legal trouble in the future. Contact us today to set up a time for us to meet and address your specific needs.