Starting a small business is a huge feat. And the process comes with many steps that most business owners do themselves. Maybe it’s because they don’t have enough budget to outsource some of the tasks. Or maybe they just want to be hands-on and be part of every step of managing their business.
But there’s one aspect of owning and managing a business that should be left at the hands of an expert: the legal aspect. In every step of the process of creating and managing your small business, you’ll need the help of a lawyer. Here are some reasons why:
Registration and Taxes
Even before your business gets off the ground, you need to take care of its legalities. For example, you first need to identify your desired business structure. Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? To find which one fits your business the most, you’ll have to consult a lawyer.
Once you’ve selected the type of your business, you also need to understand its tax responsibilities. An accountant can help you with managing and filing your taxes for you. But a lawyer will help you answer your tax questions, such as the legal ramifications of late filing, over-deduction of business expenses, and so on.
Once you’ve chosen the type of business you want to pursue, the next step is to get licenses and permits. For instance, you need to get a business license to have the right to operate your business. The permits you need will depend on what kind of products or services you will provide. For example, if you aim to open a restaurant or any other food business, you’ll need to secure a health permit.
A lawyer will know what papers you need to secure to open and run your business properly. They’ll also guide you through the process of retrieving these papers. In this instance, the lawyer can provide invaluable help that will ensure you can get your business off the ground legally.
Contracts and Agreements
In your small business, you’ll need to make plenty of contracts and legal agreements. For example, you’ll have to draft employment contracts. A lawyer will help you identify every detail that needs to be legally binding to avoid issues with your employees.
You can also consult a lawyer to clarify the benefits that your business must provide to your employees. You can also consult other experts for help. For instance, you can talk to a defined benefit advisor or a pension funds accountant to clarify pension schemes for your employees. But for the most part, a lawyer will be able to help you with the basics.
Legal agreements with other parties, such as a supplier or a vendor, also need to be checked by a lawyer. This way, you’ll be reminded of all your rights as a business owner. You can also improve your contracts and agreements and make them “air-tight” to avoid legal disputes with the parties you’re connected to.
Even small businesses can encounter issues regarding intellectual property. This is especially true for those that provide creative services, such as logo design, copywriting, and other similar tasks.
As such, you will need a lawyer to check if your own products overlap with another intellectual property. Doing this will help you avoid disputes with other businesses and you’ll be able to make necessary changes in your products and services. The lawyer can also help you protect your intellectual property rights.
Getting sued seems impossible until they happen to you. They’re actually quite common. In the US, 36 to 53 percent of small businesses were involved in civil cases. Meanwhile, in the UK, small and medium-sized businesses get into an average of eight legal disputes per year.
Getting into a legal dispute will not just eat up your time and money. It can also ruin the reputation of your business. And gaining it back will be difficult.
To prevent this issue from happening, you need a lawyer to check on your business operations. They’ll be able to catch possible legal loopholes so that you can address them immediately before any legal problem arises. These checks may include your current legal agreements with vendors or suppliers, real estate, and so on.
Even though money’s a little tight in your business, you’ll have to set aside money for legal expenses. With all the help that a lawyer can provide, you’ll save money (and headaches from legal disputes) in the long run.