When you are getting started in business there seems to be an awful lot you don’t know and a helluva lot you really should. You may be extraordinarily talented at whatever it is you do. But knowing which laws, insurances and regulations apply to you in business can be impossible without a little help. Even with legal advice, there may be some areas of your business that are legislated uniquely in your industry. If you are unaware of them, you can quickly find yourself in a lot of trouble.
There are many laws and codes that are designed to protect employees in the workplace. Navigating them all can be a challenge. You must ensure Health and Safety in the workplace, and you must have qualified First Aiders available. Hiring staff also can be highly regulated and swamped in legal complications. Certain advertisements for jobs could be deemed inappropriate or even illegal. It is so difficult to be sure you are covered when you are just starting out.
Having a general liability insurance is a very good start when you are self employed or starting up a business. You need to ensure you have the right kind of insurances in place before you hire anybody, have members of the public on your premises or distribute any products. If you have taken out finance or a loan, part of your agreement with the bank may include ensuring you have the right levels of insurance to cover you and the business.
If you are struggling to understand all of your legal obligations, you should seek the help of a lawyer. While this is expensive, finding yourself personally liable and uninsured will be far more costly if anything goes wrong. When it comes to legislation, regulation and conduct codes for your industry, it can be overwhelming. Contact your industry regulator or trade union representative to get some good information.
You may be fortunate enough to have a small business advisor near to you with some insight into the kinds of responsibilities you will have as you start up. These advisors can be a goldmine of information so take advantage of them whenever you can. Spending a little money now to get the right advice could save you a fortune later down the track. Your local Government office should also be able to advise you. Make a good list of questions before attending an appointment with them to maximize your appointment time.
Of course, when you are starting out you are usually starting small. As you grow, and you hire more people, you may be subject to additional legislation that didn’t apply before. Your insurances may no longer cover you if you become a bigger company. While reading all the small print in every policy may be a pain, it is essential to ensure you are fully covered and protected, both as an individual and a small business. If you are in any doubt, contact your local insurance provider or agent for advice, rather than leaving it to chance. It could be a good idea to retain a lawyer who is well versed in your industry area.