Owning a business is a rewarding challenge. As a business owner you receive benefits such as setting your own hours, determining your scope of work, and how your company operates. However, with those benefits come challenges such as keeping sales up, maintaining a place of business, and sometimes even facing lawsuits. As a business litigation attorney from Brown Kiely, LLP will share, many legal cases can be completely avoided if a company makes sure they are following these five tips:
#1 Get Everything in Writing
No matter what the agreement and no matter who the agreement is with, get it in writing. There are times where you may be in business with friends and family. Just because you are acquainted with someone does not mean you completely know them. More cases come from just friends and family than you might expect. It’s best to get everything down in writing so there are no surprises. While lawyers would be very happy if every document was set forth in a truly legal format, just getting something in an email is okay too. There are even cases where someone wrote something on a napkin, and that was found to be legally binding.
#2 Maintain Records
Occasionally people you do business with may be less than savory, or they may try to cheat the system. It is important that you maintain records of every transaction. This may not look like tip number one because this may just be receipts — not something that has been signed. Invest in some extra storage space and save every electronic document, email, etc. You never know when that information may come in handy.
#3 Create Policies and Follow Them
Workplace policies are established for employee and employer protection. Without a set of guidelines to follow, each employee may receive different treatment which can lead to a discrimination lawsuit. It is important to treat everyone equitably, and policies help that. They are also important for a person’s literal safety. Create workplace safety guidelines to keep employees from bodily harm — and from suing you for worker’s compensation.
#4 Keep Business and Personal Separate
Never use your business for personal things. Do not write off expenses for furniture that you actually bought for your house. Do not use the company credit card for every single meal and claim it is business related. Keep your bank accounts completely separate and keep documents and records of your personal transactions so that you can prove a purchase was made from your personal account and not from the company’s account.
#5 Hire a Lawyer
Do not wait until you are facing a lawsuit. Contact a lawyer when you start your business — the sooner the better, but it is okay if you have been in business for a while too. A knowledgeable attorney can help you setup workplace policies, protections, and they can even advise you on types of business insurance it might be good for you to have. Contact a lawyer before facing a lawsuit who can protect your business from ever going to court.