As a business owner, its your responsibility to do everything within your means to limit risk and to keep the business running smoothly. Since there are no laws protecting intellectual property in Nigeria, and since as a business, you can’t exactly always get a cooperate lawyer on retainer whenever you have a suit. By taking these 5 steps below, you can protect your small business and stay out of court rooms with your pool of customers still intact.
- Watch What You Say and DO
This means avoiding things like libelous or potentially slanderous statements but it also means not doing business with slanderous and potentially unscrupulous individuals. Business owners and employees must avoid situations where a conflict of interest may present itself. Situations such as these can damage your integrity as a business owner and could land you in a hot mess legally.
- Separate Yourself from Your Business
A lot of small businesses do not know how to separate themselves from their business by way of property or revenue from the business. Research has shown that some business owners get their revenue paid into their personal accounts, while others cannot separate their personal expenses from business expense. This poses a problem in the long run.
The solution to this is to have a trust own business. So, to at least limit the possibility that the owner’s personal assets might be the target of a suit. A trust is a legal entity that, in most cases, files its own tax return and can own property, businesses, cash, securities and a host of other assets.
- Hire a Competent Attorney
Business owners should interview attorneys when they first startup, to have a standby legal contact. Owners should also attempt to secure an attorney that is familiar with local laws and customs in the area in which the business operates. This doesn’t have to be a cooperate lawyer on a retainer.
- Insure Yourself
All businesses should obtain liability insurance in case (for example) a customer was to slip and fall in your place of business. If the business is large, and has a formal board of directors, it may make sense to secure directors’ and officers’ liability (D & O) insurance. In addition to purchasing insurance, another way to insure yourself against liability is to build protection into your contracts. Insurance, no matter how small is important.
- Protect Your Files
Businesses should have updated antivirus and other types of security software loaded and activated on their systems. In the event of a massive technological breakdown, you should have a set of backed up files to refer to. This could mean performing daily, weekly or even monthly backups, and making your clients aware of which of these you employ.
Hope with this, you can start and protect your business today.