Rocket Lawyer recently ran its semi-annual business survey. It had some very revealing things to say about the legal issues that small business owners face every day.
Six legal issues stood out in particular as being concerns that most small business owners share.
Government Regulations (26%).
Staying on top of government regulations can certainly be a challenge. It’s sometimes tough to understand what, exactly, is even necessary to comply with these regulations, or which regulations apply to your small business.
Regulations can cover hiring practices, licenses, employee safety, and more. They may also require you to make certain expenditures–such as purchasing safety equipment–or they may require you to file some paperwork. A lawyer can take you on a step-by-step tour of each of the requirements that your unique business must meet.
Debt Collection (17%).
Sometimes you can get customers to pay delinquent accounts with a simple phone call. However, when you’ve got an expensive hold-out (or a lot of expensive hold-outs) then you may need or want legal help to get your money.
Lawsuits are a big risk of being in business. Some SMBs face personal injury suits, but that’s not all they have to worry about. Wrongful firing suits, discrimination suits, disability lawsuits and contract disputes may all plague your business at one time or another.
If you’re growing by enough to consider going public then you’ll definitely need to shift your legal structure. This is no DIY task: failure to set up your corporation correctly could mean “piercing the corporate veil” later–which means that you can become personally liable for lawsuits or debts.
Trademark or Patent Issues (7%).
With so-called “patent trolls” buying up patents and launching lawsuits at every SMB in sight it’s little wonder that this issue made the list. Of course, SMBs need and want to protect their own unique ideas, products, and brand names, too.
Theft or Fraud (6%).
Whether you are defrauded by an employee or a customer the result is the same: lost revenue. While these issues will certainly generate a criminal case you may be entitled to civil remedies as well.
Will your company face these issues in 2014?
Even very small companies may face any one of these issues. And DIY legal forms and legal websites can only take you so far.
If you are worried that legal help will be prohibitively expensive then you will definitely want to check out the benefits of shared legal teams. Legal help is more accessible than you think–especially when you compare it to the costs of running afoul of the law.