Certain legal issues may be specific to the type of business you have. However, many issues are common for all types of small businesses. Some of these are being discussed here.
Health and Safety
Every business owner has to ensure the health and safety of their employees at the workplace. This is one of the major concerns of business owners of all businesses, whether big or small. Such responsibilities are both ethical and legal.
If your business has a physical location, then you will need to register your business with OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration. This goes double if your employees face on the job hazards, such as building things or handling hazardous materials.
Not following the law when it comes to health and safety is a sure-fire way to get into legal trouble.
Employment and Age
It is necessary for every business owner to ensure compliance of age and employment-related laws along with the health and safety laws applicable to their particular business. In a case where a business is sold to another owner, the new owner needs to follow and maintain the correct policies and procedures together with appropriate practices that accompany the purchase of the business.
It would be advisable to seek information from the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) to ensure legal compliance and help you stay within the age limitations imposed by the law.
Buildings and Property
As a small business owner, you need to know the building codes in the district where your business will be operating. This will ensure that there are no building code violations and that there are no structural issues or other problems that may invite fines.
Fair Trading Practices
Fair trading practices help to avoid deceptive conduct and prevent economic injury to consumers and other businesses. Fair Trade includes unfair competition, false advertising, copyright infringement, etc. As a small business owner, you should make sure to acquaint yourself with Better Business Bureau guidelines and register
your business with them. Registering with the BBB shows that your business has an open-door policy and will be fair and equitable when dealing with complaints or other issues.
In general, when selling products, either wholesale or retail, all sales should be on equal terms and prices must be non-discriminatory.
For example, a box of cards should not be sold to one or more stores for $10 and to others for $13 unless there is an economic justification. This justification may be that some pay in cash so they get the product cheaper, or they buy in bulk so they get a discount. Other stores may want to retain the right to return unsold goods, so they may pay a higher price.
Licensing and Insurance
It is important that all relevant and necessary licenses pertinent to the business be obtained. The proper way to proceed in applying for any licenses you need is through your state’s Business License division. Your business should also be insured (in fact, this is often required), preferably with a reputable insurance company. To get more information on government regulations related to licenses, permits, registrations etc. for a specific line of business, check with related trade associations, business colleagues and experienced consultants.
It is best to hire an attorney to go through all documentation, plans and papers related to the legal aspects of your business. This will help you to comply with any legal requirements and ensure that your business is protected from lawsuits and other legal complications.