With so many things to think about and do every day as a business owner, you do not want to overlook how important legally protecting various aspects of your business is. Here are seven steps you should most certainly consider.
1. Protect Your Intellectual Property
From innovative products to distinct services, there are many aspects of your business that can be protected. Intellectual property laws govern the ownership and accessibility of ideas and inventions, meaning they are legally protected should someone copy them. The most common ways of protecting your intellectual property are via patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Not only does IP protection allow you to seek compensation if intellectual property infringement occurs. It can also be an asset that increases your business’s reputation, value, and market potential.
2. Own Your Business Name
It is a good idea to copyright your business name and logo. You also need to protect your business’s domain name. Make sure the name you want to use is not already registered and rethink your domain name and business name if the domain name is not free. The more you legally take ownership of your business name, the more you will be protected against copyright infringement and the more you will be able to rapidly grow a respected brand.
3. Make Your Business a Legal Entity
For further protection, consider making your business into a legal entity. When you first set up your business, it probably makes sense to begin as a sole proprietor. But as your business steadily grows, consider another business structure, such as a limited liability corporation. When you do so, you become distinct from your company and you ensure your personal assets are protected.
4. Get Insurance
Another way of legally protecting your business is to get insurance. With business insurance, you are protected against liabilities and problems that are not covered by business structures like LLCs. For instance, your assets and your online content could be covered by business insurance should you experience any theft, damage, or other issues.
5. Abide by Data Privacy Laws
With every business now having an online arm, it means businesses are handling and storing customer data more than ever before. Due to the risk of cybercrime, you must make sure all customer details are protected against hacks. You must also ensure you follow all of the laws regarding privacy and the handling of customer data.
6. Use Employee Contracts
As your business grows, you are sure to take on more employees. Whether you have one employee or two dozen, it is imperative you protect both your rights and your workers’ rights by using legal contracts. You must consult with a legal professional in order to draw up a proper contract that covers all the necessary details, such as a code of conduct, health and safety rules, working hours, a discrimination policy, and so on. By using employee contracts, you ensure your business and your workers are protected every step of the way.
7. Sign Legal Contracts to Avoid Liability When Working with Third Parties
Not everyone you work with will be an employee. If you are outsourcing elements of your business to other companies, such as a supplier or a delivery company, you must make sure you are not legally liable on their behalf should problems arise. For example, if a company should have unethical working practices or does not pay attention to health and safety, you do not want your business to be legally accountable for such things. Otherwise, your company’s reputation will become damaged and it will be challenging to reclaim your place in the market. Make sure you carefully scrutinize contracts with any third-party company before you sign on the dotted line.