10 Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Their Lawyer

Running a business involves more than just passion and determination. Even after you get your business off the ground, legal issues will pop up where it’ll be necessary to get professional legal advice. Despite this, more than 80% of Australian businesses don’t seek out legal advice when they need it. In this article, we’ll outline the 10 questions every business owner should ask their lawyer.

Table of Contents

Your legal obligations will differ depending on what type of structure your business falls under. For example, sole traders have sole legal responsibility for their businesses financial and legal operations. By contrast, companies are separate legal entities, meaning that owners (in most cases) are not liable for the company’s activities.

2. How can I protect my ideas?

Every good business is the result of a good idea, and it’s not a stretch to say that in the early days, the majority of a business’s value comes from its intellectual property. Whether it’s registering trademarks, asserting your copyright or even applying for a patent, there’s a number of ways you can protect your brand. A lawyer can advise you which assets should be protected, and also what type of protection is most suitable.

3. Which tax scheme do I fall under?

As a passionate business owner, you’d be forgiven for not wanting to deal with tax. However, tax is a necessary part of life for both individuals and business owners, and the penalties for failing to pay your taxes can be harsh. A lawyer will advise you which tax rate you fall under and how you can organise your business so that you never find yourself in tax debt.

4. Is my website legally compliant?

Setting up a website can be done in a matter of minutes, but there a legal requirements you need to comply with if you’re using your site for commercial purposes. Documents such as a privacy policy and terms of use are vital to running a legitimate and successful website, and a lawyer can advise you on how full-proof your site is.

5. How can I enforce payments?

Suppliers and customers can both be a source of frustration when bills go unpaid. If this is the case, a lawyer can outline what your options are. These can extend from sending a letter of demand to taking proper legal action to recover what you’re owed.

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6. How can I minimise my chances of being sued?

Many business owners live in fear of being sued by an injured customer. If a customer takes you to Court, legal costs can very quickly get out of hand. Beyond having insurance, every business owner should ask their lawyer about putting in place documents such as waivers which limit a customer’s capacity to sue you if something goes wrong.

7. What are my duties (as a company director)?

Company directors have strict duties which they must abide by under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Breaches of these duties can not only result in financial penalties, but also criminal prosecution. Your lawyer can explain what your duties are and clear up any grey areas so you know you’re not inadvertently breaching the rules.

8. How can I safeguard my business’s information?

There will be many instances where you may have to divulge sensitive information about your business to other people. A common example of this is where you’re pitching to potential investors. In order for them to understand your business you will need to provide them with confidential information, but a lawyer can help you make sure this information doesn’t get leaked to any third parties.

9. What documents do I need to make new hires?

Hiring employees is a good sign that your business is growing, but you should also make sure your hires are iron-clad. Using an employment contract will clarify what you expect of your new employee, and a lawyer can assist you if there’s any particular terms you wish to include.

10. What are my responsibilities when it comes to my employees?

An an employer, you’re responsible for ensuring your employees work in a safe and hazard-free workplace. Every business owner should ask their lawyer to review their WH&S policies to make sure they’re up to scratch. At the end of the day, providing a safe environment for your employees is crucial not only legally, but also for company morale.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, seeking legal advice is essential for any business owner to ensure that their business is operating legally and protected from potential risks. Asking the right questions to your lawyer can help you understand the legal implications of your business decisions and make informed choices that align with your business goals. 

At Lawpath, we understand that legal costs can be a concern for many business owners. You can hire a lawyer through Lawpath and have peace of mind knowing that you’re getting expert legal advice at a fair price.

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