Running a small business is a lot of work. You have to organize everything from accounts and workload to advertising and employees, but in return you get to be your own boss and work when you want to. Whether you are just starting out or have been self-employed for a few years, it is important to familiarize yourself with the laws that relate to your line of work for a number of reasons. Here are just a few:
It can protect the business from law suits
While running your own business is exciting and liberating, it also comes with responsibilities. Corporate law is there to ensure that businesses function safely, legitimately and fairly. It protects customers/clients, staff and the environment from unscrupulous business practice and helps maintain consumer trust. If you are not aware of the current laws that relate to your industry, you could be breaching legislation and find yourself slapped with a law suit that could cost you a lot of time and money to fight.
To ensure staff and customers are properly protected
As a business, you have a responsibility to ensure that all your staff are properly trained and any relevant background checks are carried out. While details vary from state to state, most will have clear rules on employee rights when it comes to health, safety at work, training and privacy. If you are not aware of these laws you could be putting your staff at risk, violating employment laws and failing to ensure your premises are safe for customers. If an employee or customer is injured as a result of your negligence, you could be liable. This applies, whether you were aware of the law or not at the time. Keeping up to speed with current legislation helps you to ensure that your premises, contracts, equipment, products and training are all legal and above board.
It helps protect your company’s reputation and brand
Trust and reputation are everything when it comes to business. They take years to build and only one bad incident to destroy. By being vigilant and honest with your advertising, creating easy to understand contracts, a safe working environment, and a product or service that is what it claims to be, then your reputation will precede you. If your company’s name is not properly trademarked then someone else could legally use it.
Furthermore, if you do not background check prospective employees and someone is attacked or harmed by them, you could be held liable. Similarly, if you fail to protect the personal information of clients, staff or business associates then you could find yourself in hot water both legally and professionally. No-one wants to feel like their personal information is unsafe and it will be difficult to attract customers if your business has a reputation for employing staff that have a documented history of violence or other criminal activity.
To ensure your business always operates within the law and prevent liability or personal injury claims, it is worth consulting an attorney. They can update you on any relevant legislation and help you to take action to protect your business.
Written by Chris Lewis.