Legal issues are one of the most daunting aspects of owning a business. Seemingly simple legal issues such as business licensing to harrowing issues like lawsuits against your company can cause unnecessary expense and stress for any small business owner. Having a working knowledge of the law, or knowing someone who does, can go a long way toward running a successful business. Susan Solovic, THE Small Business Expert, entrepreneur, best selling author and well-known expert, offers advice on staying ahead of potential legal issues that may face your business and how you can stay on top of them.
(Photo courtesy of Susan Solovic)
Be Sure You Have Your Licenses
For a small business owner, something as simple as licensing or naming your business can become a headache if they find out that they don’t have the right one. Before starting your business, make sure that you’ve got all of your licensing and permits in check. Solovic mentions that these small issues can be costly in the long run. “… I’ve seen business owners get in trouble by choosing something as seemingly simple as their business name and run into trademark issues. A local dog groomer in my neighborhood spent thousands of dollars replacing signage, business cards and marketing materials because their name infringed on the trademark of another groomer.” Before setting up shop, make sure that your business name is available, and make sure that you don’t need any licenses or permits. States Solovic, “Failing to get the right business licenses and permits can create legal headaches. Just this week, a couple of young girls were shut down by local authorities for selling lemonade on the corner without the proper licenses.”
Know Your Resources
It’s not necessary to have a business lawyer on staff, but you should have someone handy for simple things like contract review and incorporating your business. Solovic shares resources of which any small business owner can take advantage from online resources to in-person consultations. “There are several online resources for small businesses such as BizFilings. You can incorporate your business along with other basic legal needs, however, even if you use one of these online websites, I recommend at least a consultation with an attorney. There are sometimes nuances in legal requirements that only a trained professional can identify.”
When it comes to legal aspects of running a small business, what you don’t know can be costly. Having a professional to aid you through the process can save you time and money down the road.
Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.