When you run a business there is a lot to consider – you have to weigh up costs, employees and marketing. However, there are a few big legal issues that you need to be aware of and here are the top 10 that you really need to keep an eye on!

1. Who owns the company?

You may say “me”. However, you have to decide the structure of your business, how investors can come in and what the set up will be as this will affect how decisions are made and the direction of the company.

2. Watch what you say about other companies

When you are starting out the temptation is to say your business is the best ahead of the competition. However, you need to be careful – any untrue or misleading statements could result in legal action.

3. Make sure you have a code of conduct

You may think “I should not have to tell people how to behave”. This is a common mistake for small businesses – you need to ensure there is a code of conduct in order to minimise disputes and to have a way of settling them if need be.

A good example is use of the internet – Inappropriate sites should be blocked and it should be made clear what is allowed on company time.

4. Get protection

Check to ensure your products or intellectual property is patented, copyrighted or trademarked. A legal representative that specialises in this area can help prevent your products and ideas being stolen later on!

5. Be careful with customer data

Invest in software that can prevent hackers or anyone else from getting hold of client data and make sure it is properly protected.

6. Avoid excessive lawsuits

While protecting your business, products and intellectual property is important it can cost you if you file too many lawsuits (it can also be bad PR). Where possible negotiate and settle before taking a case to court.

7. Be wary of outside investors

An outside investor will want a say in how the business is run – this should be clarified before signing any agreements to prevent future legal disputes.

8. Get it in writing

Even if you are going into business with a friend or family member you should be putting everything down in writing. This will give you a written record and means in the event of any problems you have something to refer to.

9. Employee competition

There is a very real danger that an employee leaving your business could use their experience to set up a rival company. In recent times companies have used non-compete agreements to prevent an employee from setting up rival firms for a set period of time.

While you may consider this excessive it can be a way of preventing an employee from gaining an advantage with inside information and knowing how to undercut you.

10. Don’t skimp on representation

Simply put the danger some companies make is avoiding spending money on legal representation. It is better to have someone in place who can offer advice and prevent problems later on. For more information contact us today.