No business is immune to the risk of legal action. In fact, according to Statista, the average spending of large companies in the US for legal disputes hit $115 million in 2017 alone. Whether it’s a simple contract dispute or a complex civil suit, every company faces the possibility of being taken to court.
However, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk and protect your business from costly litigation. Here are five tips for avoiding legal problems in your company:
Tip #1: Have well-written contracts.
Any time you do business with another party, you should have a contract in place. The contract should clearly spell out the terms of the agreement, including what each party will provide and when they will offer it. A well-crafted contract can help prevent disputes by clearly defining the expectations of both sides.
For instance, you hired an independent consultant for one of your upcoming products. The contract should specify the work that needs to be done, the timeline for the project, and how much you will pay the consultant. Having this level of detail in your contract can help avoid misunderstandings down the road.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies don’t have written contracts for their official transaction. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a verbal agreement will suffice. Get everything in writing to protect yourself and your business.
Tip #2: Comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Your business is subject to various laws and regulations, from employment to consumer protection laws. Familiarizing yourself with the applicable laws and ensuring your business complies is essential. Failure to comply with the law can result in costly penalties, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.
For example, you run a small retail business. You need to make sure you comply with laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs how you can use consumer credit information. If you’re unfamiliar with the law and accidentally violate it, you could face a hefty fine.
To avoid this situation, take the time to learn about the laws that apply to your business. You can consult with an attorney or do some research online. Once you know what the law requires, ensure your business complies.
Tip #3: Be careful what you put on your official website.
Your website is a reflection of your company, so it’s essential to be careful of what you include on it. Any false or misleading information on your site could come back to bite you later. Say you run an e-commerce business and list a product for sale on your site. But when consumers try to purchase the product, they find it out of stock.
You could be accused of false advertising if you don’t remove the listing or provide some other notification. This is just one example of how easily things can go wrong if you’re not careful with your website. That’s why it’s crucial to get the help of web design and development agencies that can help you build your site from scratch and ensure it’s up to code. They can also take a close look at your site and help you ensure it’s compliant with the law. Not to mention that these professionals can also align your site’s overall look with your brand.
Therefore, if you want to avoid any legal problems with your website, make sure to consult with web design experts. They just might spot areas for improvement or help you avoid even having one.
Tip #4: Get insurance.
Insurance is an important tool for managing risk in any business. Many types of insurance policies are available, so ensure you have the coverage that best suits your needs. For example, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees. If you own a retail store, you may need product liability insurance. And all businesses should carry general liability insurance if someone sues for damages sustained on their property.
For instance, you run a catering business, and someone gets food poisoning after eating one of your dishes. You could be held liable for their medical bills if you don’t have insurance. But your policy will cover the costs if you have general liability insurance.
Since there are different types of insurance policies available, make sure to research and get the right coverage for your business.
Tip #5: Choose your business partners carefully.
Who you do business with can significantly impact your legal risk management strategy. For example, if you’re entering into a joint venture with another company, you’ll want to ensure they’re reputable and have a good track record. The same goes for any other type of partnership or strategic alliance.
You can avoid problems down the road by doing your homework upfront. Make sure to thoroughly vet any potential business partners before entering into any agreements. You can do this by checking out their website, reading online reviews, and talking to other businesses in your industry.
While there’s no guaranteed way to avoid all legal problems, taking some basic precautions can help reduce your risk. By having well-written contracts, complying with applicable laws, polishing your official website, carrying adequate insurance, and knowing your business partners, you can create a strong foundation for protecting your business from costly litigation.