Welcome to Western Sydney Business Access

 fb tw yt in

LEGAL TIPS FOR SMEs Featured
29 April 2017 Posted by 

LEGAL TIPS FOR SMEs

Ways to avoid legal issues 
By Katherine Hawes
AS a small business owner, you are forced to wear many hats, leaving the legalities of your business as a more of a "nice to have".
However, if you want to protect your business from further issues, you need to stay on the right side  of the law.     
 
The following five tips can be used to minimise the legal issues that may arise for a small business owner. 
 
1. Understand your business structure
 
There are four main business structures commonly used by small business in Australia. These are sole trader, company, partnership and trust. To determine which business structure is most suitable for your small business, you need to consider the license you may require, taxation, whether you want to be considered an employee or an owner, your personal liability, ongoing costs and paperwork involved in your business and how much control you have over the business. 
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sole trader or employ 50 people, you need to ensure that your intellectual property is protected. Intellectual property is what differentiates your business from your competitors and it can be your company logo, design or a new invention. For example, you own a panel beater shop that has a recognisable logo. To ensure that replicates or uses a similar logo, you can register a trademark with IP Australia. For further information on this, you can visit https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au 
 
2. Website terms and conditions
 
Having appropriate terms and conditions on your website is key.   Even if every other aspect of your business is running smoothly, a lack of terms and conditions could mean the demise of all your hard work!  Terms and conditions fulfil your legal obligations and protect you from legal liabilities that may arise. If you sell any of your goods (such as paint or auto body parts) or services (such as panel beating or car servicing), it is extremely important to have water tight terms and conditions as you will also be collecting payment information.  Aim to include the following clauses in your T's and C's. 
 
Privacy policy.
Cookie policy.
Website ownership.
Visitors agreement. 
Limiting liability.
Third party material.
Consequences of use of the website.
Amending terms and conditions.
Copyright information.
Refund policy.
 
3. Social media rules and regulations
 
Social media is an excellent tool for advertising and promoting your small business. However it also poses a huge risk because just as quickly as good news spreads, so does the bad!  Therefore, It is your responsibility to ensure that the content on your social media profiles is accurate, irrespective of whether you were the original author of it.   
Remember, if you employ staff, it is important that they do not jeopardise your business through their personal social media profiles. To alleviate this risk, you can introduce and enforce a business wide social media policy that establishes what can and cannot be said about your business online. 
 
Katherine Hawes is principal at www.digitalagelawyers.com
 


editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
Mobile: 0407 783 413
Email: info@wsba.com.au
Mail: PO Box 186, Kurrajong NSW 2758
Office phone: 61 2 4572 2336

logosmallWestern Sydney Business Access (WSBA) is a multi-channel media franchise that supports businesses and covers the stories and issues that impact the upon the progress and lifestyle of Western Sydney and its residents.