Businesses face multiple threats regularly. These threats have varying degrees of severity, but they’re pretty much always there to one extent or another, especially for small businesses. One of the more stressful threats to your business is legal threats. These can easily wrack up exorbitant costs, or even cause you to go out of business, so how do you protect your business from them?
Defend Your Intellectual Property
Your business’s intellectual property is a valuable asset that is well worth protecting. Without proper protection methods, there’s very little stopping anyone else from taking your ideas, designs, or processes and registering them as their own. You may find it helpful to find an intellectual property attorney and consult with them. Register any trademarks and copyrights you have to make it clear that you are the owner.
Insure Your Business
No business should be without some form of business insurance. Any substantial asset in your business can be protected with insurance. It’s a standard method of protecting your business that, depending on the state, may be required by law. At a bare minimum, you should carry liability and property insurance. If you have any employees, workers’ compensation insurance is another must. If your business owns any vehicles, you’ll need to carry business auto insurance as well. Depending on the industry you work in, it may also be a good idea to carry errors and omissions insurance.
Use Written Agreements
By the time you get to being a business owner, you should understand the value of a contract. Contracts can be one of the best ways to make sure you’re covered if something goes wrong, and can provide established methods for resolving conflicts. Any business relationship you enter into of any sort should be bound by a written agreement that is signed by both parties. This protects both signees and should serve to establish clear terms and conditions that both parties will abide by. It’s often best to have these agreements drawn up by an attorney to make sure they are valid and legally binding. It’s not uncommon for non-competition agreements to be broader than can be enforced and may not be legally binding even if they are signed.
Legal threats can be especially stressful and devastating, so it’s important to take steps to protect your business. Make sure you have a way to protect your intellectual property. Carry adequate insurance for your business. Use written agreements whenever possible. This will help you put your business in a solid position to deal with legal threats when they arise.
Read this next: How to Get 100% From Your Team