When you start a small business, it’s easy to idealize the future. However, if your business becomes successful, it’s likely to run into some legal troubles along the way. That is, if you don’t follow these simple tips to protect your business before it runs into trouble. From interviewing a commercial litigator, to incorporating your company, to getting proper insurance, there are many important steps to protecting your small business.
1. Hire a commercial litigator early.
A commercial litigator can help your business in the event that you are sued. They can also help you take preventative measures to protect yourself, for example, avoiding employee lawsuits.
It’s a great idea to interview litigators before you need one, so you have someone on standby if a business-related issue arises. It’s much easier to call the commercial litigator you chose when you started your business than to have to start from scratch and find someone to help you in a time of need.
2. Be mindful of your business image.
Anytime your company does business with or associates with another company, it’s a potential liability. Make sure any companies you endorse, solicit, advertise with, or otherwise associate with is reputable and shares your values.
If a company you associate with runs into legal trouble, your company could be linked to them in the fallout.
Also keep in mind the language and images you use in your online presence, whether it’s on the website, on social media, or in your ads. Use words and images that are appropriate, and try not to offend anyone.
3. Separate yourself from your business.
In many jurisdictions, a sole proprietorship business leaves the owner vulnerable. If the business is sued, this means the courts can come after your personal assets.
Thankfully, there are ways of protecting yourself. One major way people protect their personal assets is by “incorporating” their business into an independent unit.
There are a few legal options for separating yourself from your business, but it’s important to do this early, before any problems arise. Do this now and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble!
4. Get properly insured.
Did you know all businesses should have liability insurance? This covers you in the case that a customer slips and falls on your property, for example. Some professionals may also want “errors and omissions” coverage, which protects them in the case of a human error or other mistake.
You can also build legal protection into your contracts, but you’ll need good legal counsel to make sure you’re totally covered.
5. Protect your computer files.
The vast majority of businesses these days operate almost exclusively digitally. This means you’re trusting your most important assets to the whims of an electronic machine. It’s extremely, extremely important to back up your files either to the cloud, or to a backup drive, and ideally both.
You can also take this opportunity to protect your investments by installing excellent antivirus software and consulting with an IT specialist for a network checkup.