November 29, 2015

Small Business News: The Ultimate Legal Guide


Small business legal issues may not be the sexiest topic in the world. But they’re often issues that are critical to the survival of your business. Thank goodness then for people like Nancy Byerly Jones who blogs at and tweets at @LawBusinessTips sharing many legal and other issues important to the small business community. Some of the links below are either to her posts or links she has shared. Others were collected by our Small Business Trends team. We hope you find them useful:


How to salvage your relationship with clients. Rubbed a client or customer the wrong way? Of course,the first and best way to avoid legal trouble is to do your best in the first place to keep good relationships with the people who come to your for services and assistance. Here’s some advice law firms themselves can use to smooth things over with disgruntled customers and clients and keep them happy, and you can do the same.


The limits of intellectual property law. Protecting your business’s intellectual property (patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.) can certainly be an important part of doing business. But, in the end, relying on that one great idea may not be enough. Whether your business is a small mom and pop or a giant drug corporation, relying one or two really big ideas may not be enough when the competition arrives. What is your game plan when your idea is no longer unique?

Human Resources

Advice from a law firm about getting your employee evaluations right. How important is it to get your employee evaluations done correctly? Why not ask how important it is to fairly reward merit and promote excellence in your company? Well done employee evaluations can also improve moral since employees, for the most part, like an evaluation process that is laid out logically and done well. Want to improve your employee evaluation process? Read on.

Preventing the HR lawsuit. Its part of the reality of operating a small to medium sized business that, as soon as you start hiring employees, the chances for HR related law suits increases. Though you can’t completely eliminate the threat that someday a dissatisfied employee will lob a civil suit in your direction, there are steps you can take to limit the dangers. Here are some basic ideas to start with from Michelle Binks. 365 Days of Startups

Tax Issues

Six legal ways to write off your car. An important consideration for small businesses that often operate on limited budget and try to keep costs to a minimum, is tax write offs and how to deduct as many expenses as possible when tax time rolls around. One of the greatest expenses for most people, small business owners included, is their car. Here are some ways you can legally write off your vehicle. (Check with a tax preparer or attorney first to be sure these tips apply to you.) SF Gate


Advertising and intellectual property. Legal issues related to intellectual property are also likely to arise when in the realm of advertising whether making sure that others are not infringing on your intellectual property right or, just as important, that you are not infringing upon theirs. Be clear about issues related to everything from trademark to product comparisons and be sure your killer advertising campaign is also on solid legal ground. 365 Days of Startups


So what are the benefits of an S-corporation? Incorporating bring with it many benefits for a business including but not limited to limiting liability. This does not, however, mean that all forms of incorporation are right for every business or business owner. Before you take this important step, weigh the benefits and the costs to make sure your decision makes sense for you. Small Business Trends

S Corp vs. LLC? It may sound like an epic battle among titans, but really it’s just a decision about what form of incorporation to choose for your small business. Remember, not every arrangement is right for every business…or every entrepreneur for that matter. Even once you’ve determined that incorporation is the way to go, you’ll still need to decide on the kind of corporation that works best. Small Business Trends


Lawmaker eyes small business “bill of rights.” A Minnesota legislator has introduced a bill that attempts to cut down on “arbitrary regulation” of small businesses on the state level. “The Small Business Bill of Rights is intended to improve cooperation between state agencies and small businesses,” says State Representative Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake. The bill will apparently attempt to get state agencies to examine mitigating circumstances when assigning penalties to small businesses on compliance issues that can quickly mount up. Echo Press

New bill may speed up small biz patent process. Got a product or process you want to patent? It may soon be easier than ever for U.S. small businesses to push through the potentially important process that helps protect what, for some, can be a vital intellectual property right upon which their business is based. Passed recently by the U.S. Senate, the bill aims to give small businesses a leg up in expediting the approval process. For more read the full article above.

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  1. This article and its links make good points. I’d simply add that a small business / start-up can avoid significant costs and lost productivity by using mediation or an outsourced ombudsman. These services can identify and resolve all types of business issues before they escalate into expensive and distracting litigation.

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