Hello my lovely ladies in business!
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing common legal problems I see in business, and some solutions every business owner can implement.
Since I graduated from Boston College Law School over four years ago, my law practice has been focused in complex commercial litigation. “Wtf is that?” you might be asking. It’s basically just a term for when people and businesses fight with each other. That means I see lots of contract disputes, and people stealing ideas, trade secrets, and other business assets you don’t want people stealing.
Today we’re starting off with an overview of the top five legal issues I see every day.
1) The Business Partnership Gone Bad
You start a business with your bff, but things go south and she bails. So you build the business up yourself, you start making a profit, and she suddenly reappears demanding half of all that you’ve earned. You didn’t think to draw up a partnership agreement (you were friends after all) and now it’s her word against yours.
2) Someone Steals Your Photos, E-Book, Course, Blog Post, etc.
This stuff, called intellectual property, gets stolen all the time. Intellectual property includes copyright, trademarks, and patents. I’ll be discussing each of these over the next weeks and months, but for now you can check out Copyright 101: What to Do When Your Work is Copied.
3) You Get Sued, and Your Personal Assets are at Stake.
Nothing is scarier than having a process server show up at your house with a lawsuit, telling you that you’ve been sued. Except when that lawsuit ends with you having to hand over the 100k in your bank account you’ve been saving for a downpayment.
Imagine this scenario. You’re innocently running your online business. You haven’t wanted to concern yourself with the “legal stuff” so you don’t worry about forming a legal business entity, or making sure you’re complying with the GDPR (more on this later – but it most likely applies to you). You’re just running a small online business and blog, right?
Wrong. Even if you’re a blog, even if you’re a small online business, you need to protect your personal assets by forming a legitimate business entity and complying with all applicable laws and regulations (unfortunately, there are a few of them).
4) You Had a Deal with Someone, But Now the Details are Fuzzy.
We all have the friend who “doesn’t remember” borrowing our romper. Verbal agreements aren’t going to cut it for your business, which is where contracts come in. Contracts spell out the expectations of each party, set boundaries, and establish consequences for when those expectations aren’t met. No matter what you’re selling, you need one.
5) You Bring on an Independent Contractor or Short Term Employee to Help with an Aspect of your Business, and Then They Quit, and Spill your Secrets to your Competitor.
Some of us just aren’t great with secrets right? Luckily, this isn’t an excuse when you have a non-disclosure agreement. This kind of contract creates a confidential relationship between the parties. That way, anyone you bring on has a duty to keep your company secret’s secret, during their employment and after.
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