There’s much at stake for your company. Ask your attorney these ten questions so you don’t come up short when it counts.
You’re a small company owner, not a business law expert. Still, you’ll need to be familiar with legal compliance matters, intellectual property regulations, taxes, business liability, and a myriad of other law issues as you launch and nurture your company. With so much to learn, where do you begin? It’s best to talk to an attorney and get advice for your unique business needs, but it also helps to know what issues to discuss with your lawyer.
To assist you in beginning the conversation, here are ten essential business compliance questions you might not know to ask. The answers to these questions are fundamental for protecting, growing and operating your business.
From Attorney Matthew Hickey at RocketLawyer.com –
1. Do I need to keep a record of this?
In the early months of a new business, it’s typical for things to fly fast and loose. Nonetheless, you’ll also generate a number of important documents that you need to keep track of. For starters, small businesses are required to maintain a number of receipts and records for tax and corporate compliance purposes. Depending on the nature of your business, some documents may help limit your liability in the event of a lawsuit. In addition, some of the other paperwork generated by your business will prove incredibly valuable later on because it will allow you to analyze the growth of your business and the efficiency of your operations. As a result, it’s important to ask your attorney what type of records and other documents you should be generating and maintaining as part of your business operations. It’s much easier to keep the right records from the beginning than try to find or recreate them later.
2. What are my risks of getting sued?
There is some risk of a legal action inherent in any business venture. However, it’s not always clear what those risks are. And, of course, some businesses are at higher risks for litigation than others (for example, running a skydiving business is obviously going to be riskier than working as a freelance blogger). In addition, lawsuits can arise in a number of contexts. Small businesses can face lawsuits from employees or former employees; allegations of trademark infringement; and/or disputes in the buying or selling of goods or services (to name just a few possibilities). The first step in avoiding a lawsuit is to recognize where you’re most at risk and then taking steps to minimize or sidestep that risk altogether. Unless you’re a lawyer yourself, you’ll probably want to seek the advice of an attorney to identify those liabilities.
3. What happens if I get sued?
Even if you do everything right, there is still a chance that your business will be confronted with a lawsuit at some point in time. In fact, you might be surprised to find out that 57 percent of lawsuits affect small businesses, according to Bolt.
In general, you’re at a higher risk if your business takes off. The more employees you have, the more customers/clients you have, the more activities your involved in, the greater the risk of your business being sued. If you’ve never been sued before, you probably don’t know the best way to respond to a complaint or threatened lawsuit. For that reason, you’d be prudent to work with an attorney to create a plan for dealing with lawsuits–before they happen.
4. Can I use personal assets in running my business?
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