It is the law, and you have to be compliant with it to avoid getting in trouble. This is a problem for a lot of entrepreneurs who are new to putting their first startup in place. Not knowing the laws governing doing business in your state and county cannot only stir up trouble for your business, but it can be costly too. For this reason, you will want to be aware of a few legal pitfalls that are often overlooked by well-intended business owners.
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Learn Your State and County Laws
When it comes to opening a business in a given state and county, it is generally a good idea to start out by taking some time to educate yourself in your state and county business laws. State government websites and the staff at your local county building should be able to direct you to any materials and handbooks that provide you with an overview of any legal matters for which you should be made aware. This includes, but is not limited to, permits, licenses and items you must have filed to meet local legal standards. Depending on what kind of business you are opening, you might even need to visit a law library in your local area to understand any unique laws governing the operation of a specific type of business in an area that harbors special laws for said business type.
Visit with a Business Attorney
If you really want to ensure your business is operating within the letter of the law, it helps to make an appointment to visit with a business attorney. A business attorney in your area will have the insight and experience to guide you into making sure all your ducks are in a row when it comes to legal matters. Additionally, a business attorney can also help you fill out and file any paperwork with your state or county so as not to catch flack along the way.
Policies and Procedures
Every business should have an expertly written policies and procedures manual to govern employee conduct and expectations. This manual should be written by someone who has a good legal mind to plug up any legal holes in the wording. This prevents legal problems by giving an employer the written and understood basis for explaining in detail why an employee will be reprimanded or fired for being in violation of the company’s clearly stated policies and procedures. Think of all the companies presently in legal trouble over sexual conduct matters, and it becomes evident why a policies and procedures manual is an essential legal document your company must have to safely operate. It also gives the employee a clear understanding of what is expected of them to best ensure they are doing their job in line with established company policies and well-defined procedural protocol.
Keep Your Business and Personal Assets Separate
It is a bad idea, legally speaking, to mix personal and company assets into one pile. For example, if you purchase something for your company, using your personal bank account, this could potentially create a situation where you have accidentally opened the door for a creditor to legally seize your company’s assets. By keeping your business accounts and your personal accounts totally separate from one another, this helps to ensure that you are not making legal issues associated with one set of accounts spill over into the other.
The law can be a sticky matter when you are not properly made aware of how to navigate the legal aspects of the business world. It is easy to slip up and do something that could get you or your company drug through court unnecessarily. By educating yourself in the business law practices of your state and county, as well as having an open relationship with a good business attorney, you will find it is much easier to protect your business from all sorts of unforeseen litigation problems.