Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Want to Set Up a Small Business? How to Avoid Legal Trouble

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Want to Set Up a Small Business? How to Avoid Legal Trouble

Setting up a home-based business is risk free, right? Especially if you’re not shipping anything or directly hiring anyone. All you have to worry about is how much money you’re going to make.

Unfortunately, that’s not true. When you operate a business you are responsible for the things you do and say and if you don’t protect yourself, you can lose everything. Here are five tips to help you start your small business and avoid legal trouble.

#1 Being Self-Employed

If you are self-employed, set up an LLC instead of a sole proprietorship. An LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation. It essentially means that you create a corporation and are then an employee or member of that corporation. This is an important distinction. A person can go after your business but all of your personal belongings like your home and personal bank account are protected.

If you own and operate a sole proprietorship and something goes wrong, the person can go after everything you own. Not good! Depending on the type of business and size of business you’re opening, you may want to register it as an S Corp or other entity. Talk to a lawyer to find the best answer for you.

#2 Disclaimers

Regardless of the business you’re going into, you’ll likely need a few disclaimers. For example, if you publish a website about how to make money online you’ll want a disclaimer to let visitors know that you’re not responsible for their online success or failures. The same is true if you provide a service or sell products. Talk to an attorney to have a disclaimer created for your small business.

#3 Business Agreements

If you offer a service, you’ll likely want to create business agreements to solidify any arrangement you have with your customers. The same is true if you hire contractors. You’ll want to create a work for hire agreement that outlines the responsibilities and commitments for both parties. You can find basic work for hire agreements online or you can ask your attorney to draw one up.

#4 Privacy and Security Policy

What is your privacy policy? How do you protect your customer’s information? How do you keep their email address, payment information and other information private and protected? Again, you can find basic privacy and security policies online. However, make sure that you follow up and actually take those steps that you outline in your policies.

#5 Insurance

If you sell products or have customers visit you on site, you’re going to want to have insurance that protects them and you. The last thing you want is to lose your entire inventory to a fire or to have someone get hurt on your property.

Take a look at your business model and goals. Talk to an attorney. Then take action to protect your business, your assets and your future. It’s not difficult and the protection is well worth the time and energy.

 


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