You’ll have to consider many details in starting your own small business. In addition to operational concerns and financial administration, you’ll also have to consider how you’ll protect your business against legal allegations. There are several different ways your small business can be held liable, so it’s necessary to consider how to protect your business best. This short guide can help you get started.
Retain an Attorney
You should consider the retainer fee for a reasonable business attorney as a regular part of your operating budget. It may be beneficial to you to retain a firm that offers comprehensive legal representation in case you need North Carolina criminal defense attorneys or personal injury lawyers in the future. You may be surprised by how many times the insight and services of a lawyer can help you sidestep legal difficulties in operating your business. From drafting employment agreements to creating vendor contracts, your business lawyer can protect you from liability in several different areas. They can also offer you advice on how you can use insurance and other services to add extra layers of protection to your business. If a customer or employee does file a legal complaint against your business, having an attorney on retainer will give you someplace to turn in an emergency. Before you respond to any legal complaint, your first call should be to your lawyer.
Be Cautious About Public Statements and Media
You’ve seen the same thing happen to many businesses over and over, so you should already be familiar with how a public statement can lead to disaster. Especially when posting publicly on your social media accounts, avoid making remarks that could be construed as inflammatory or hurtful. While users may not interact with many of your posts, you’ll attract much more attention when you post something that can be seen as discriminatory. It would be best to take this level of cautiousness when creating marketing materials for any advertising campaigns you launch. In addition, avoid visual media that could be interpreted as being critical of any particular group of people.
Copyright Your Intellectual Properties
In operating your business, you’ll create many different types of intellectual properties, including internal training documents and public marketing materials. Therefore, you should obtain copyrights and trademarks for everything you make, down to your business’ logo. The primary reason is that the legal protection will give you grounds for suing those who use your materials without your permission. Additionally, your copyrights and trademarks will establish that you hold the rights to these original works. This prevents another person or business from claiming you appropriated their intellectual properties for your business use. In this way, you’ll be protected from liability claims against your business.
Keep Your Business in Good Condition
You will also have to guard against injuries occurring to your customers due to safety hazards in your brick-and-mortar business. This means ensuring public areas are maintained in good condition. Some places to watch include spills or damages to flooring and overhead hazards that could lead to head injuries. The public spaces to keep safe include outside walkways, parking lots, steps leading to your business, and any public areas inside your company. You should also take steps to ensure your employees have safe working environments. This may include enforcing safe work practices and requiring the use of personal protective equipment as needed.
Protect Your Data
Cybersecurity is another concern for every small business owner since a data breach can lead to claims for damages from customers. When a data breach occurs, a customer’s financial information may be leaked to an external source, leading to identity theft and related crimes. You can guard against this situation by protecting any data transferred via your website or stored electronically in a cloud computing account. In addition to using firewalls, password protection, and other cybersecurity measures, your business should use a VPN (a virtual private network) when conducting any online activity. The VPN will encrypt the data and disguise the transmission source, protecting against hackers monitoring unprotected connections.
It’s also a wise precaution to ensure your business protects you from personal liability. This may include incorporating your business or taking other precautions recommended by your business attorney. You should also make sure you keep business insurance coverage to help you deal with the claims that will be filed against your business. These steps will help you cope with legal disputes without compromising your business’ future.