Small business legal advice: 5 tips from legal professionals
What is your best piece of legal advice for a small business owner?
To help small business owners connect with legal advice, we asked legal professionals this question. From hiring an accountant early to looking out for potential liability, there are several pieces of legal advice that may help you run your small business enterprise successfully.
Here are five pieces of legal advice for Small Businesses:
- Hire An Accountant Early
- Don’t Wait to Get Your Employer Identification Number
- Take Proactive Steps to Prevent Injuries at Work
- Get Every Agreement in Writing
- Look Out for Potential Liability
Hire An Accountant Early
It’s incredibly important to work with an accountant as early on in your business as possible. The last thing you want to do is end up in financial or legal trouble due to poor accounting. There are a plethora of rules and regulations that need to be followed, as well as frequent changes and addendums to existing regulations. An accountant will help you stay on top of these things and ensure that you’re meeting all of the financial obligations as a small business owner.
Mark Pierce, Cloud Peak Law Group
Don’t Wait to Get Your Employer Identification Number
A federal tax identification number, or Employer Identification Number (EIN) is what legally allows you to do all of the necessary steps to build out your business. Don’t waste a single day before taking that step. Don’t give the Internal Revenue Service any reason to red flag you and your business. Obtaining an EIN allows you to hire employees, pay federal taxes and file returns, apply for a business license, open a bank account, operate as a corporation and use a tax-deferred pension plan. The IRS website is where you apply for an EIN. Consult with a business attorney before you begin the process so that everything is done correctly.
Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law
Take Proactive Steps to Prevent Injuries at Work
Patrons to businesses are considered “invitees” who are owed certain protections from unsafe conditions that may exist on the business premises. Business owners or property managers have a duty to use reasonable care to maintain the business in a safe condition. A business owner can protect themselves by taking measures to correct hazards that may exist or by warning invitees of the condition (like wet floor signs). Although the hazard that causes an injury may not be obvious, the owner may still be liable when the condition could or should have been discovered through reasonable inspection or maintenance; the legal term for this is “constructive knowledge.” Business owners should put into practice standard operating procedures that require regular maintenance and cleaning, documenting procedures and then properly insure. The true benefit of this practice is the limitation of invitees getting hurt on the premises and secondarily, and providing defense against unforeseeable incidents.
Byron Kennedy III, Tripp Law Firm
Get Every Agreement in Writing
As a lawyer who’s seen way too many small businesses end up in needless disputes, the one piece of advice I offer to every business owner is to get every agreement that matters to your business in writing. No exceptions. Although written agreements won’t solve every potential problem in your business, they drastically reduce the chance you’ll find yourself in a legal dispute down the line.
Bobby Klinck, BobbyKlinck.com
Look Out for Potential Liability
Personal injury claims can come from the strangest places. No one likes to think about being sued, but it’s always a possibility, no matter how well you run your business. So it’s important to be proactive in identifying potential risks and taking steps to mitigate them. Businesses should also have good insurance coverage to protect themselves from the financial burden of a lawsuit when accidents happen.
Charles Scholle, Scholle Law
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