What are the legal mistakes every business could be making?
It's important for businesses to have a solid understanding of the laws and regulations that apply to their industry and to seek legal advice when necessary to avoid these common legal mistakes.
Common mistakes every business should avoid:
As an experienced commercial law firm, we often see various legal mistakes made by start-up companies and small businesses. Such mistakes range from: not having legal contracts; not implementing risk assessment; inadequate insurance cover; failing to trademark your business; and not executing a will to account for your business in the event something happens to you. CPC Lawyers provides expertise to all types of business, whether you are a sole trader, or within a partnership, company, or trust, in order to avoid these simple but significant legal mistakes.
Here are some of the most common legal mistakes that every business should be aware of:
Not having legal contracts / policies
Legal contracts are essential to any business, particularly if you are hiring employees and/or contractors. All legal contracts need to be clearly defined, outlining roles, responsibilities and confidentiality. Policy and procedure documentation should set out your workplace regulations, in areas such as health and safety, performance management and anti-discrimination. Both legal contracts and policies are important in order to avoid potential disputes. Our solicitors are experienced in drafting contracts and policies tailored to a specific business. For a more detailed discussion of the documentation you require, see our blog: ‘Establishing a Business – Part 2: Getting your documentation in order’.
What could put your business at risk - Identifying potential risks and conducting a Risk Assessment
All businesses face legal risk. It is important to understand, assess, and manage risks in order to make well-grounded business decisions. All businesses are required to manage risk under Work Health and Safety legislation, Australian Consumer Law, Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and Environmental Law (if applicable). Risk can be posed by suppliers; employees; business location; market economy and so on. Hence, it is crucial to assess such risks and implement a risk management plan suited to your business. By having risk assessment measures and practices, your business can decrease insurance costs by having a lower risk of damages.
One of the most important ways to protect your business against risk is to have sufficient insurance. Starting or running a business can be challenging and often involves putting some of your personal finances at risk. A significant legal mistake you might make is not having the correct level or type of insurance tailored to your business. As a consequence, you may be subject to financial loss in the event something happens to you, your business premises, stock/equipment or intellectual property.
Not trademarking your brand and business
Registering your business name by way of trademarking means that you will have control over what you use and represent in the marketplace, as well as registering your right to deter competitors from using your name and impacting your brand. Failing to do so, or ‘leaving it until later’ can have consequences for your business as your brand is essentially unprotected. Trademarking is not only essential to protect your business, but also to ensure that your business does not infringe an existing registered trademark.
With regard to small businesses, such as sole director/shareholder companies, it is extremely important that you have a will. In the event of you passing without a will, your family will be unable to step into your shoes as director to continue the business further. While the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) provides that a ‘personal representative’ may appoint an individual as director of your company, this involves going through the process of attaining Letters of Administration which may take several months. As such, no one will be able to operate your business legally during the time, devaluating your business and resulting in uncertainty felt by any clients and employees.
As you now know, there are a number of common mistakes made by businesses relating to various aspects of law, whether it be trademark, consumer, or employment. In order to operate your business effectively, it is essential to minimise the abovementioned mistakes and their potential impact on your businesses revenue and reputation.
Find out more:
Are you starting up a new business? Do you think your current business may have made a simple mistake? Reach out to the team at CPC Lawyers to learn more and receive informed legal advice.
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