As your small business grows, you will become involved in a number of opportunities which can put your company at risk. If you’re not familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding those activities, you could face penalties, lose business, and even risk losing the company. Here are some of the areas in which you need to start considering the use of legal counsel to make sure that you and your business are not vulnerable.
Human Resource Management
As you expand your work force, you may need the skills of contractors, temporary help and people in other countries. Attorneys that specialize in HR management understand the regulations around the employment of these individuals. Thy will help you navigate the labor laws in other countries to make sure that you are compliant. The lawyers will also put together employment contracts that keep your company safe when working with contract and temporary labor.
You may find that to grow you need to work closely with other companies. These partnerships benefit both businesses, but put each at risk of compromising their intellectual property. Legal resources will put together contracts and agreements that specify the scope of involvement of each company in the partnership. These documents will indicate the extent to which each business has access to each other’s intellectual property and the level of privacy that must be maintained with this information.
Patents and Trademarks
You also want to protect the new ideas and discoveries made in your company by seeking patents for them. A patent attorney knows how to prepare the complicated application for a patent. They will also help you to understand what can and cannot be patented so you don’t waste time trying to patent something that will be denied.
Protecting your trademarks is another way to keep your company safe. Your brand is critical to consumer recognition of your company. Those companies that infringe on your trademarks make it difficult for consumers to know that they are dealing with you and not an imposter. An attorney will make sure that all of your important product names, logos and slogans are trademarked to give you some protection.
Miscellaneous Legal Needs
Beyond these key areas in your business, there are other activities for which you should consider legal help. These may include:
- monitoring your company’s social media use for accuracy and appropriateness
- managing software licenses that your business needs to operate as well as those that your company sells with its products
- activities leading up to and during a merger or acquisition