The world of business is much like the market it depends on – there can be glorious highs and depressing lows – no matter how hard you work. Unfortunately, when you’re in business, your success can be at the whim of a higher power – that doesn’t mean you’re not in control, but it can mean that something, things will happen that make your work life a bit more difficult.
There’s a lot that can go wrong with a business at any point. Some of these things will not be in your control – but the others? They will, and there’s nothing more infuriating than seeing your business fall apart because of a minor problem that you, as a business could have prevented. Some of these problems that you might create? There are plenty of legal considerations that will make your life a lot harder if you run foul of them. Running a business isn’t just about doing what you feel like and hoping for the best, there’s a rulebook to stick to.
Business is like anything else. There is a right way and a bad way to do things – and everything usually follows that rule. You’ll know yourself if someone is right or wrong in business – as it’s pretty common sense. There is no room for cutting corners. Not at all, and shortcuts could land you in some hot water – in a legal sense. There are simply two paths that you should follow in business, taking the wrong one? It could be a disaster – you will have to keep your nose clean when it comes to your business, your actions and your business operations.
First things first – the setup of your business has to be by the book. Anything else isn’t good enough, and it could be illegal. Your business needs to be incorporated and registered long before it starts trading and everyone involved needs to be named. There are plenty of ways that you could register a business, as a limited company, a private company – check what works for you and then abide by the restrictions and rules of your registration. It’s at this point that you need to also check the name of your business, the branding of your business or anything in its image. If you can trademark your style, you’ll avoid any legal problems in the future – but checking also ensures that you aren’t flying too close to the sun and mirroring another business in your name. Naming disputes can land any type of business in a spot of bother, even if something is not a direct copy, it can still be a breach of copyright law.
It’s worth digging deeper on copyright and trademarking – as this is perhaps one of the most common areas in which a business can get involved in a dispute. There are plenty of ways in which a business can get breach copyright law. When you breach the law, it’s known as infringement. Copyright law is a big part of the legal system in many countries, and its importance can be seen in important documents like the Constitution of the United States, where it plays a pretty prominent role. Either way – copyright law is a complex area, but it’s pretty easy to understand in one way; just be your own business. It is worth learning about copyright law in your country of business, simply because it can differ. You might be able to copyright something for 28 years, 50 years, or 5 years – the difference is about the country you’re based in.
The best way to avoid copyright infringement? Just run your business in the correct way when it comes to copyright. Avoid issues by being original when it comes to your business – and if you do use works or anything owned by another person, obtain permission. It’s a lot less expensive than a potential court case or settlement.
Patents are another thing to pay consideration to, especially if you’re involved in production or tech. You can bet that the big players in tech are simply sitting on patents that they won’t act on hoping for a business to violate them. This is easy money for the sake and effort of a patent, so watch out and always do your research. If you’re developing products, ensure you are patented and protected.
Keeping your nose clean in business? Funnily enough, it’s also about keeping a clean business – but not just that. Your business needs to be a safe place for your employees to work in and your customers to shop in. It needs to meet building regulations, and faults need to be fixed. Health and safety considerations might seem very strict, but abiding by them will help protect your business. Ensuring that leaks are fixed, spills are cleaned up, that dirt is destroyed with pressure cleaners that your business is hygienic are the ways to go. Not many business owners have the time to do this though, even if they should! Employing a site manager to fix issues is the best way to go – so they can concentrate on ensuring the building is up to scratch while you can do what you do best; run your business! This is extremely important when dealing with food – as health issues dictate that food must be prepared correctly in hygienic surroundings.
Safety in the business is a key consideration – if a employee gets hurt in the place of work, that’s one thing – but if a customer is injured? It could be the start of very lengthy proceedings. The answer? Ensure your place of work is safe for everyone!
When it comes to your workforce, there are also a lot of considerations to take into account. Firstly, you can get yourself in a lot of bother with hiring. If you’re going to discriminate when you hire, if you’re going to fake a hiring process or do anything else, you’ll get caught. Always choose the best candidate for the job – and ensure that your hiring processes include candidates from all walks of life. There’s no excuse for discrimination here. Or actually, in all parts of your workplace.
Your place of work needs to be an inclusive environment where all your employees feel safe. If an employee doesn’t feel safe in the workplace, they will be unproductive – but there’s more. If it’s racism, discrimination, bullying or harassment in the workplace that is making someone feel unsafe, they might feel inclined to take the business to court – especially so if the business is encouraging this type of behaviour. If this is occurring in your workplace, put a stop to it with effective company policy. Keep an eye out for it as well, as not all victims will come to you to complain about it.
Your employees do need to be treated well. Otherwise, you may end up in court. Everyone working for your business needs to be treated in the correct manner and with respect. If they do not feel safe, or valued – it could wreck your business and your reputation. There’s a lot of benefits to treating your team with respect, mainly – they will be happy and thus more productive. That’s a lot better than a tribunal, isn’t it?
You also need to keep your customers happy. If your products aren’t up to scratch, if they are falsely advertised, or if they cause harm to a customer, you can be in a lot of trouble indeed. This is best seen through class-action lawsuits, where customers gather en-masse and launch a case against a business. This is something that can cause huge problems in a number of areas for a business. Avoid this by being there for your customers, offering support – getting faulty products back from them, replaced and off of the shelves. Don’t delay with customer service, because it might upset people and cause you some massive issues.
The Government need to be kept happy as well – namely the tax department. Funnily enough, this where mistakes and issues can really cost you. Messing around with your tax can ensure that you are promptly prosecuted and even jailed. It can ruin your business – and that’s bad enough. To avoid this, document your tax returns accurately and file them as soon as you can. Paying for an accountant here can save you a lot of grief and also find tax exemptions to ensure you pay the correct tax. A lot of businesses do try to play games with their tax, but they are always caught out. Ensuring you pay the correct fees, tariffs and tax goes a long way to ensuring you’re running a business the right way, and the consequences in this area can be especially heavy.
Even if you follow all the rules, you could still fall short of succeeding – but you know what? If you don’t follow the rules you’ll ensure that success is out of sight altogether. There’s no excuse for running a poor business – there’s even fewer for running outside of the rules. Keep your nose clean in business, play by the book and give yourself the best chance of success.