Business Law: A Beginner's Guide
Starting your own business comes with a lot of responsibilities. Among them is a detailed and extensive knowledge of business laws. There are a ridiculous amount of laws that you must know about, or you could face severe consequences. In the best circumstances, you might get away with a fine. In the worst, you’ll be shut down for good. Because of this, you need to know what you’re doing before you even get set up. We can’t tell you everything you should know, or we’d be here all day! Instead, here are ten of the most common laws you might need to deal with.
Your employees are entitled to many rights, and you need to understand all of them to make sure you aren’t breaking the law. Firstly, there’s the number of hours they are expected to work. You can’t force them to work more than this, or you’ll be breaking the law. Also, you need to give them adequate amounts of holiday and provide sick leave. You also need to equip them with adequate resources to do their job and give them an area to relax in the workplace.
While we’re on the subject of employees, you must make sure you’re paying them the right amount of money. We all understand that it’s difficult for a small business to get by paying huge wages, but you’ve got to at least pay the bare minimum. This depends on the country you’re in, so do your research before you get started. This can differ when different ages and different employment options are involved.
Health & Safety
You have a requirement to ensure excellent health and safety for everyone in your premises. The list of requirements is extensive, so many companies employ health and safety representatives. This is an area where you’re almost certainly going to need some extra assistance. As well as employing a dedicated rep, you can also get employment law advice from Peninsula Group and many other places online. They’ll be able to ensure that your health and safety practices are up to scratch.
While data protection is important for your business, it’s especially important for your customers. If you’re collecting sensitive data, you have a duty to ensure it remains private. You must make sure you’re doing the right things to save it from falling into the wrong hands. This includes securing your company systems and not allowing anyone to have access aside from the relevant people. If that information gets out, your company is in huge trouble.
Taxes, taxes, taxes. I’m sure it doesn’t come as any surprise to you that you must know the tax laws when it comes to starting a business. They are very different from anything you’ve dealt with before, so you’re going to have to do some extensive research. Again, it’s beneficial to seek expert help if you’re struggling in the initial stages. By planning for tax costs, you can work with your accountant to create an efficient budget.
Before you get involved in employee laws, you need to go through the recruitment process. This comes with all sorts of considerations as well, so you’ve got to be aware of the correct procedures. Failing to do this could render your new employee’s contract invalid, opening up all sorts of potential issues. It’s also to protect your company as well; you never know what type of person you’re hiring!
Just like every other area of the business, marketing has to be done in a careful manner. You can’t go telemarketing every number you find in the phonebook until you enjoy success. Similarly, there are lots of rules about where you can market your material and the ways in which you do it. Fail to do this properly, and you could be shut down. You’re not going to get much custom if you’re constantly annoying potential customers, either!
Sales laws exist whether you’re trading over the internet or trading locally in a retail shop. You still need to make sure you have a license to trade goods, and this is affected by your country and your circumstances. If you’re planning to sell your items internationally, it opens up a whole other set of regulations that you must adhere to. Don’t assume that just because it’s OK locally; it’ll be OK all over the world.
If you’re creating documentation and images that are being used elsewhere, you’ve got a problem. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do if you aren’t copyrighting them. The same goes for your marketing designs and even your own product names! It’s going to be beneficial for you to understand about copyright before you ever try and enter the market. Make sure you’ve got those names, images and designs locked down before they’re stolen.
You’re probably going to want to hand this part of the business over to a dedicated accountant, as it can become very confusing. There are financial laws that you need to abide by, but they aren’t quite as cut-and-dry as some of the other topics on this list. When getting into big deals such as company migration or even bankruptcy, law requirements can be extensive. As I say, you can take the time to learn about this if necessary, but your accountant is the most important person to understand this side of the business.
Laws are just one of the many things that you’ll need to know when starting your business. However, by having a good knowledge of them, you’ll be able to plan accordingly. It’ll help you to find the right employees, manage your budget effectively, and ease into a slow startup. Having a good knowledge of the law will mean that you shouldn’t have to deal with any unexpected disasters or court appearances. You’ll also be much more respected by your peers, employees and customers alike. Treat this as seriously as any other part of your business, and you’ll be just fine. We wish you the best of luck!