How to Protect Your Startup Business

Starting a new business comes with many challenges and difficulties that you must learn to overcome. However, when running a startup, many people become so distracted by standard business tasks that they forget to protect themselves from liability issues. But as you grow your business, you will face potential lawsuits at every turn.

Inability to plan and prepare for possible legal action can impact your business in a negative way. Although they can be costly, lawsuits can also destroy a small business, especially if you are caught off guard. Even if your business does survive, it could suffer irreversible damage to its reputation.

Contracts

If you are about to enter into a contract with a business or individual, it’s vital you understand the exact terms to which you are going to agree. Otherwise, you could accidentally violate the terms of the contract and expose yourself to a civil liability issue that will impact your profit. Unless you are a legal expert, reviewing a contract on your own is not enough to protect your business. If you want to stay safe, it’s important you consult a qualified legal expert before you sign any paperwork.

If you have already entered into a contract, you might want to consider reviewing the terms again so that you can avoid further problems. Consulting an attorney at this point can help you discover if you have agreed to unfavorable terms. If you have done so, then your lawyer might be able to help you find ways to avoid experiencing an adverse outcome.

Hostile Work Environment

If one of your employees is being harassed while at work, then you could be found at fault for not taking steps to prevent it. So, it’s vital you pay attention to your employees so that you can spot signs of harassment and put a stop to it. You must understand that the symptoms might not always be obvious. Your staff might not feel comfortable coming to you if they are being treated badly by their coworkers or managers.

You can increase your odds of spotting a potential problem by looking for changes in an employee’s behavior. If someone once enjoyed coming to work but has recently become quiet and unhappy, you need to take a closer look at the situation so that you can determine whether harassment is taking place. It’s helpful to make an effort to interact with your employees as often as possible so that you can check on them.

If you want to reduce the odds of harassment taking place, then give your employees the option of submitting an incident report anonymously. If you want this method to be successful, give instructions on how to complete the process and encourage your team to list dates, times and possible witnesses of any incidents that take place.

Although you can never guarantee that harassment won’t occur, taking proactive steps to prevent it will help you in court if someone files a lawsuit.

Workplace Safety

If an employee gets injured while they are on the job, then you could be held liable for any damages. So, it’s vital to take action to reduce the odds of someone getting hurt while they are at work. When safety is at the front of your mind, it’s important you encourage your staff to report potential hazards as soon as they notice them. Although some people punish their staff for reporting safety issues, doing so is a mistake that will harm your business. Punishing employees for highlighting hazards will only discourage them from doing so in the future.

If safety is your no. 1 goal, then you must also invest in training and equipment so that your staff can learn how to protect themselves. Trying to save hundreds by not investing in safety could easily end up costing you thousands in lawsuits and compensations for worker’s injury. You can also reduce the risk of injuries by encouraging your team to speak up and to request assistance when they feel unsafe.

Final Thoughts

No matter how busy, you must always take the time to protect yourself from facing a lawsuit. It’s not uncommon for new business owners to think that they don’t need to worry about such problems, but everyone is at risk. Educating yourself and taking precautionary measures can work wonders to keep your business on the right side of the law. Understanding contracts, preventing harassment and protecting your staff will give you the best possible results.

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Philip Piletic
Philip Piletic is a European native currently living and working in Brisbane, Australia. He has a strong interest in ecology, green practices, and generally living a sustainable and responsible lifestyle. He loves helping others achieve success in these areas and is currently contributing to many blogs around the web. To find out more about Philip, or to inquire about his services, you can visit his LinkedIn profile at https://au.linkedin.com/in/philippiletic.