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Avoid Putting Your Houston Small Business In Legal Trouble With Our Expert Counsel

Avoid Putting Your Houston Small Business In Legal Trouble With Our Expert Counsel

New year, new you, right?

As much as we like to believe a new year will bring enlightenment and prosperity, a change in the calendar year doesn’t make that magically happen. However, there are several things you can do to work on that prosperity goal by making sure your business stays out of legal trouble and is set up for success. 

Especially with the pandemic disrupting lives and many business operations, it’s more important than ever to prepare, document, and make sure your affairs are in order. 

6 Tips To Keep Your Business Out Of Legal Trouble In 2022

Before we get started, it’s important to note that there’s a BIG difference between an experienced attorney and online legal services. Don’t be too quick to take advantage of free forms and websites that provide legal services at the touch of a button. Instead, find an attorney who truly understands your business and will keep you out of legal trouble. 

1. Get A Professional Support System

No matter your industry, all business owners need a professional support system. This is true whether you are just starting your business or have owned it for years. 

Your support system should include:

  • Business attorney
  • Bookkeeper
  • IT services provider
  • Commercial banker
  • Commercial insurance broker

You’re an expert in your field, which is why you started a business. However, trying to handle every single detail of running a business on your own will take away from your end goal. Plus, it will create a whole lot more work and likely result in important matters falling through the cracks. 

Business Attorney

Have you read an article related to your industry and thought, “I’m doomed”?

First of all, never trust what you read in the news or on social media. You need an expert in your corner to help you separate fact from fiction and decipher the gray areas. 

As an example, if you work in the CBD industry and read an article stating that Delta 8 is illegal, you might be concerned. While the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) did make that statement, it does not mean that laws have changed. Without an attorney, you may become convinced your business has to close down. However, this reaction would be to an opinion and not an actual law. Those types of laws would require legislative change. 

This is just one example of why as a business owner, no matter your industry, you need a business attorney who understands your business. Furthermore, you need an attorney on your side who understands the specific laws that pertain to your business. And one who will help you abide by the laws to stay in good legal standing.

Bookkeeper

While you should work closely with your bookkeeper to ensure your finances are in order, handling your finances can be a full-time job in itself. This is why it is extremely advisable to hire a professional bookkeeper to keep your finances in order. You’ll be very happy to have your finances in order when tax season comes around. 

IT Expert

The IT industry is complex and constantly changing. Unless you are an IT professional, you definitely want to outsource this job. Whether you need your website to stay up and running, increase your Google ranking, have access to your business email, and more – you need a professional IT expert on your team. 

Commercial Banker

Are you operating your business out of your personal checking account? That sounds like a tax disaster waiting to happen. Moreover, how do you keep tabs on your business’s cash flow and expenses if it’s commingled with your personal finances? Your best bet is to work with a commercial banker to ensure your money is where it needs to be and is working for you.

Commercial Insurance Broker

Do you look at other business owners’ misfortunes and think, “That could never happen to me?” Well, I hate to break it to you, but no business is immune from accidents, lawsuits, or other types of misfortunes. This is why no business should operate without liability coverage. Additionally, some businesses require special insurance. For instance, as an attorney, I have professional liability, general liability, cyber insurance, business interruption, and an umbrella policy. 

2. Choose Your Legal Entity

Choosing your legal entity before officially starting your business will save a whole lot of money and time down the road. And if you’re operating as a sole proprietor, you definitely need to have a separate legal entity before you hire an employee. 

Otherwise, you could risk losing all your personal assets if (and when) things go south between you and said employee. 

Unsure what legal entity is best for your business? Then you need a business attorney with experience. Contact the Carson Law Firm today to find out how we can help you. 

3. Update Documentation & Contracts

As a business owner, you should always have good contracts and documentation in place. Without these, you’re likely setting yourself up for disaster.

Moreover, each contract needs to be reviewed and updated annually – at the very least. This includes operating agreements, vendor contracts, client contracts, and much more. 

Furthermore, you need to document your processes. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that a business owner’s world can change in a matter of minutes. Imagine if an employee were to catch a virus and be out of work for an indeterminate amount of time? How would you handle passing on those tasks to another employee or handle them yourself?

As processes change, you need to update documentation. Always operate on the notion that whoever is performing any task may not be around tomorrow to continue. Businesses operating proactively in March of 2020 had the easiest time transitioning to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. 

Plus, your employees, vendors, and clients will appreciate your transparency and dedication to your business.

4. Protect Your Businesses With Insurance

Ahhh…The small business dilemma. So many small business owners don’t think they need insurance. And that, unfortunately, leads to huge losses of money that you could have prevented otherwise. Word to the wise – you need insurance.

For starters, get general liability insurance just in case you are sued. No one is immune from lawsuits, and you are doing yourself and your business a disservice not to prepare. Additionally, you’ll need a commercial policy for any business vehicles. You’ll need premise liability if you are ever meeting anyone anywhere for business matters. Cyber insurance is crucial these days with the amount of business happening online. If there is any potential for lost profits, you’ll need a rider for that, too. It’s also important to realize you need to insure your business equipment. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance rarely, if ever, covers business equipment in your home.

5. Respect Your Employees

Have you heard of the Great Resignation?

If not, it’s time to start paying attention. Employees are putting their foot down when it comes to working on their terms. 

In today’s political climate and with an ongoing pandemic, it’s hard to be either an employer or an employee. People are concerned about bringing a virus home to their families, so if you can allow them to work remotely – seriously consider doing just that. 

As many employers in Texas are not allowed to require employees to get vaccinated, consider incentives to push for a safe and healthy work environment. Some employers are paying employees $500 for proof of vaccination. Others are rewarding the vaccinated with gift cards, additional vacation days, and more. Not only will your employees feel more comfortable and protected coming into work, but they’ll also be more likely to gladly accept your incentives. 

Do you have questions about how to navigate the hiring process? It can be tricky, and you need an attorney on your side before you start hiring employees. Get in touch with the Carson Law Firm today.

6. Handle Your Business & Your Money

The most important piece of advice I can offer to keep your business out of legal trouble in 2022 is to handle your affairs. Make sure your business is running properly with the help of experts. Included in that is handling your finances. 

And don’t just hire experts to take over parts of your business. Check-in with each of them regularly to make sure everything is running smoothly. 

Work With A Business Attorney To Keep Your Business Out Of Legal Trouble

Ready to run your business with confidence?

Then it’s time to work with a business attorney who has your best interest at heart. Carson Law Firm works with small businesses in Texas to help them find success and avoid legal trouble. Ready to learn what Carson Law Firm can do for you? Contact us today!