Running a business is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, career choices a person can make. Venturing out on your own can be daunting. With no safety net to fall back on, you live by your own efforts and your own decisions. In the same way, this can be a tremendously liberating experience. But for those responsible for running a business, there are other issues that require particular attention – including pertinent legal issues that business owners need to bear in mind. But what are the most common legal issues for business owners to contend with?
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Every business owner, regardless of the size of their business or the industry they operate in, must be aware of their tax obligations. Business owners are often personally responsible for meeting their filing obligations, with on-time, accurate data required for the purposes of tax collection. Tax is an incredibly complicated area of the law, with only seasoned professionals truly able to understand the vast set of rights and responsibilities that exist. More efficient tax arrangements are not illegal, but the technicalities of tax law make it essential for business owners to have a detailed understanding of how the system works.
Contract law is another substantial area that business owners must understand. Every time a sale is made, a deal is struck or some arrangement reached, there is the potential that contracts are being formed and obligations created. Parties may not even be specifically aware they are contracting, or have any paperwork in place whatsoever. However, both parties can still be liable for the decisions they take, and for their actions in the course of running their business. A sound grasp of the basics of contract law will stand you in good stead, so you understand when you are binding yourself and your business. Of course, this will also be beneficial in ensuring the other side agrees to and then fulfills their obligations.
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Perhaps the most directly challenging aspect of law for many business owners is employment law. Law firms – such as DLA Piper, managed by Bob Bratt CEO – are often called to give opinions on employment law matters. This is one of the most technical areas for small business owners to become familiar with, and the stage between taking on your first staff members and hiring an HR department can be the most difficult, as far as dealing with this type of law is concerned. While employment law is designed to protect employee interests, this can be a minefield for employers who are not yet experienced in what they are doing.
Business owners have a tough job, and they are expected to effectively represent their company across a wide range of issues. When it comes to the law, without a base level of understanding, there is real potential for trouble. By being consistently mindful of your liability in law, and seeking appropriate professional help where required, it is possible to more successfully navigate through the process of effectively managing and running your business.