5 Legal Issues You Should Solve as a Business Owner
Even though it is possible for your business to fail due to a bad business plan, shortcomings in your logistical situation or the lack of cash influx, no end comes as swiftly as one caused by unresolved legal issues. The most ironic thing about them is that most are easily solvable with a bit of research, some well-directed effort and a proper legal aid. This means that the escalation of these issues usually comes from the initial negligence of company’s senior management. With this in mind, here are five legal issues that every business owner should solve long before they turn into a major problem.
1) Naming the successor
Even though for a lot of people business is supposed to be all about making profit and a name for yourself in an industry, there are those who see far beyond that. Namely, their main concern is starting a business that can stand a test of time and leave behind a legacy for ages to come. Unfortunately, this is not completely in your hands and in order to ensure your company keeps on the desired path even after you are gone (in the case of retirement or death) you need to make sure there is a clear line of succession. Needless to say, unless you are a 100 percent owner of the company, you need to include all the stakeholders in this process as well.
2) Copyright and patent issues
In a situation where your company isn’t simply a retailer of a product but its inventor, you need to ensure you hold exclusive rights to it. You see, this is a tricky ground involving a no small amount of foul play. In fact, some companies have been known to keep a patent in secret for years in hopes of someone else violating their rights. They do so in hopes of getting a chance to strike a mortal blow at some of their chief competitors and in this way run them out of business. The best way to protect yourself from this is by getting legal aid by people who specialize in copyright and patent laws.
3) Predicting work injury
One of the scenarios you are likely to see all over the newspapers is one of an employee getting hurt in their workplace and then running the company out of business with an expensive lawsuit. Of course, in a situation where an injury does occur due to your negligence, there isn’t much you can do, but there is always a chance that this isn’t the case. You see, sometimes an injured employee will look for a deal that is all but fair in order to intimidate you. In order to get some professional input on whether or not you should accept a deal offered, it might be a good idea to have your own personal injury attorney on a retainer. In this way, you can ensure you aren’t getting the short end of the stick.
4) Defining your business structure
Amongst the first things you would have to do once you start a business would be to define a business structure of your company. You see, here you will be required to clearly state if you want to register as a partnership, limited partnership, corporation or even sole proprietorship. Needless to say, this will affect everything from the above-mentioned succession line to the issues of liability and taxes. This is also something you need to clearly set from the very start. Unfortunately, this also requires you to further define relationships within the company and settle the issues of business licenses. Nonetheless, this is a work that needs to be done sooner rather than later.
5) Problems with dissatisfied customers
Finally, no matter how diligent you are as a company, some of your customers are bound to be disappointed in at least some aspect of your business. Once this frustration grows big enough in both size and numbers, they might even group to file a class action lawsuit and therefore seriously harm your brand.
Surely, the best way to avoid this is by being honest in your advertising efforts and have an especially assertive customer service. The biggest problem with false advertising is that it sometimes isn’t even deliberate on your side but caused by a bad (or even deliberately) bad interpretation of the other party. This is why you might want to encourage marketing and legal teams of your company to work together so that they could avoid such scandals in the future.
As you could see from the above-listed five examples, in all of these cases it is much better to act with preventive measures rather than to react to a newly arisen situation. This as well is where legal experts can be of great service. For instance, an injury lawyer can perhaps point you in the direction of injuries that would most likely result in a suit, which could, in turn, help you make your workplace safer in general. All in all, it is much better to deal with these issues long before you have to.