Navigating The Minefield Of Small Business Law

Starting your own business is a steep learning curve and there are all sorts of new skills that you need to pick up along the way. You need to learn how to manage all of your finances properly, how to create and market products and how to run a team. But perhaps the hardest thing you have to learn is how to navigate all of the legal ups and downs of owning your own business. The legal aspects of running a small business can be very confusing, especially if you don’t have that much experience in this area. However, there is no room for error here and if you get caught on the wrong side of the law, things could quickly turn very bad for you. If you’re running your own business, these are the laws that you need to be aware of.

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Data Protection

This is so important at the moment because consumers are starting to ask questions about the way that companies handle their data and the laws in this area are changing a lot. When you’re dealing with customer information, particularly credit card information, it’s up to you to make sure that you keep that data safe. There are a lot of things to consider here; first off, it’s important that you don’t share any information over the phone without first confirming that they are who they say they are. If somebody calls up posing as a customer and you don’t go through the necessary security checks before sharing information with them, you’re breaking the law.

You can also land yourself in a lot of trouble if you’re the victim of a cyber attack and you lose sensitive data. You might not necessarily end up in legal trouble if you’ve taken the right steps to protect yourself but you’ll still lose the trust of the customers and that’s incredibly hard to come back from. That’s why security is one of the most important things to consider when you’re building a business website. If you don’t invest enough into your security systems, you could find yourself in breach of data protection regulation.  

Anti Money Laundering

Any organization that allows a person to open an account of any kind, especially one that gives them a line of credit, has a responsibility to protect against money laundering. Even if you aren’t directly complicit in it, it’s down to you to make sure that people are not laundering money through your company. Netverify from Jumio lets you meet AML regulations by using software designed to verify customer identity in a safe manner using document verification software and facial recognition. Even if you’re an innocent party in the whole thing, you could still find yourself in trouble if you didn’t take steps to protect against it.

Employment Law

Once your business starts to take off and you hire some employees, you need to brush up on employment law. There are a lot of regulations designed to protect the workforce and make sure that they’re compensated fairly and there are steep penalties for any businesses that break those laws. You need to ensure that you’re paying everybody the minimum wage, always make sure that they’re given all of the leave that they’re entitled to and you have a pension program in place. If you need to get rid of any employees for any reason, it’s important that you go about it the right way. You must have a real reason for firing an employee, like some kind of misconduct or not meeting their job requirements. If you are in financial trouble and you need to downsize, you’ll need to pay redundancy to any employees that you get rid of. If you don’t follow these regulations properly, you could end up in the midst of a wrongful termination lawsuit with an employee which could result in you having to pay a large settlement.

Consumer Rights

Consumer rights law is there to protect your customers. Any goods that you sell must be as described so be careful with your marketing materials. They also need to be fit for purpose which means they have to work as expected. If you’re being dishonest about the quality of your products or their features, you’re going to end up in trouble. There are also a lot of guidelines about returns so consumers are protected if they receive broken goods or products that aren’t as described. If you try to deny a consumer of these rights, they can take legal action against you.

It’s important that you stay on top of these legal issues, otherwise, you could land your business in hot water.

This is a collaborative post.

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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