Most people are pretty keen on the idea of keeping their businesses on the right side of the law. On one hand, there are all of the serious ethical considerations around violating legislation, consumer trust, and so on. On the other, there’s the good old fashioned fear of ending up suffering the consequences as the long arm of the law reaches out.
Nonetheless, some people still choose to take their chances, and others get caught up in legal trouble without any clear idea of how they got there.
Here are some things you should do to keep yourself from waking up one morning and find out that you’ve accidentally drawn the ire of Big Brother.
Make Sure Your Contracts And Agreements Are Legal And Binding
The first and most fundamental thing to do in terms of keeping your business above board, is simply to read through all contracts and agreements that you’re involved in, understand them, understand your own legal footing in regards to them, and know where potential problem areas might lie.
Keeping up to date with industry-wide, or even national legislation is also essential. For example, new IRS rules require amendments to operating agreement, and any business owner who has failed to get the memo could find themselves in deep trouble pretty much overnight.
It’s vitally important to consult with a legal expert in your business dealings — better yet, to have one on your team who’s responsible for ensuring that you don’t step into any murky waters by accident.
Don’t Work With Shady Clients Or Partners
There are a bunch of old sayings, like “lie down with a dog and you’ll get fleas”, which basically instruct you to watch the kind of company you keep.
Even if you make a point of being completely clean and pure in your own personal behaviour, working with shady clients or business partners can nonetheless get you embroiled in any legal trouble that might befall them. It can even make you complicit, especially if you allow any such shady partners to act with the authority of your business in making deals, establishing connections, processing payments, and so on.
And of course, even if you avoid legal trouble, working with shady people is still likely to damage your professional reputation with other clients and businesses.
Keep Clear Records Of Everything You Do In Your Professional Life
Keeping clear records of everything you do in your professional life isn’t just something that’s worth doing to jog your own memory, or keep projects rolling along seamlessly, it’s also one of the best ways of protecting yourself against future accusations of wrongdoing. In many areas, it’s also a legal requirement in and of itself.
No matter how small the deal, agreement, allocation of funds, or anything else, make sure that you keep meticulous records of everything done in the name of your business. What’s more, take special care to guard those records, and have them backed up in multiple formats in multiple locations, to prevent any being lost in accidents of any kind.