12 Legal Tips for Small Business OwnersProviding guidance from founders, directors, and legal professionals, this article presents twelve essential legal tips tailored for small business owners. Topics range from the significance of accurate record-keeping and obtaining legal counsel for compliance to the emphasis on written agreements. Continue reading to delve into the complete list of these twelve valuable legal tips.

To provide small business owners with valuable legal advice, we asked a group of founders, directors, and legal professionals for their top tips. From prioritizing accurate records and legal counsel to protecting assets before going to market, here are the twelve insightful tips they shared.

Prioritize Accurate Records and Legal Counsel

As a lawyer, I would say that for legal protection and compliance, keeping accurate and well-organized records is essential. Contracts, agreements, financial transactions, licenses, permits, and other essential business-related documents should be tracked.

Clear and well-drafted contracts with customers, suppliers, employees, and business partners can help prevent disputes and provide clarity in the event of disagreements. Ensure that your company adheres to all applicable laws and regulations, including tax requirements, employment laws, and industry-specific regulations.

Consult an attorney when necessary, particularly during significant business transactions or when facing legal obstacles. A competent attorney can provide guidance, protect your interests, and assist you in navigating complex legal matters.

Small business owners can mitigate risks, foster a stable business environment, and prioritize growth and success by prioritizing appropriate documentation and legal counsel.

Understand Local Laws and Review Regulations

As a business lawyer, one of the most important legal tips I can give to small-business owners is to make sure you thoroughly research and understand your local laws and regulations.

It is essential for you to be aware of the specific rules in your area that impact how you run your business, such as taxes, licensing requirements, zoning restrictions, and labor laws.

Keeping up with these changes can help ensure that your business remains compliant and that you avoid potential legal issues. It is important to have an experienced business lawyer review any contracts or agreements before signing them.

This will help ensure that the terms of the contract are in your best interest and that you are not agreeing to anything that could put your business at risk.

Ensure Written Agreements in Business

Whether you are working with freelancers, independent contractors, or big companies, ensure that you have written agreements. This is what we strictly adhere to in our business.

When everything is in writing, you have clear references and can avoid costly disputes. Our memories can fail us—what you remember you agreed on can differ from what your vendor or partner remembers.

Maintain Business and Owner Separation

Many small-business owners form a new legal entity to operate their businesses. Although business is never without risk, exposure to third parties is limited by separating the business from the owner(s). Maintaining this protection requires actually keeping the parties separate by adhering to these five principles:

1) Observe corporate formalities (for example, hold meetings and document certain actions by resolution).

2) Operate the LLC as a separate financial unit (for example, never commingle funds, maintain separate bank accounts, and maintain a separate accounting instance).

3) Avoid making any representations that would lead an outsider to believe that the business is being conducted as a sole proprietorship or partnership.

4) Capitalize the new entity with sufficient cash to meet obligations as they come due (and document loans!).

5) Enter contracts and transact other business in the correct legal name or a registered “doing business as” name tied to the new entity.

Choose the Right Legal Form

When beginning a small business, selecting the right legal form is critical. Each structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation, has advantages and disadvantages in terms of responsibility, taxes, and management.

Consult with a business attorney to determine which structure best fits your company’s goals and conditions. Consider personal liability protection, tax ramifications, and administrative complexity.

Draft Updated Contracts for Remote Employees

When managing 1099-employees, as many remote employees today are, always draft updated, relevant contracts for the work or services you need to be done. In marketing, for example, the market changes fast and often.

Sometimes, we need flexibility from the contractors we work with. By writing contracts aligned with our needs and detailing the work we need to do, we can manage our remote employees’ expectations and pay more successfully and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.

These contracts focus on the general scope of work, work duration, privacy concerns, and payment agreements between employer and contractor. Ultimately, these agreements protect both parties and leave a paper trail for both groups to work from when resolving issues or negotiating terms.

Without them, liability and compliance issues can become muddier, and contractors are not guaranteed the same job security a signed contract allows.

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Original article published on smallbusinesscurrents.com

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