That’s the question lawyer Katherine Hawes is encouraging business owners to ask themselves to better protect their business and personal assets.
The use of social media has changed the way people do business – think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as some of the digital tools used for self-promotion. But the social media landscape can also do harm to businesses if not used properly.
“Media law has changed since the introduction of social media and businesses need to be aware of that and what the impacts are on their business,” Ms Hawes said.
“Social media is a great tool for achieving exposure but there are also risks.”
Ms Hawes’ firm, Digital Age Lawyers, help businesses navigate those risks and put in place the necessary protections to safeguard their assets.
The key to success is preventative action, she said.
“I started Digital Age Lawyers in May last year because I found nobody was protecting businesses in the modern world,” Ms Hawes said.
“A lot of times businesses just look at what’s ahead of them in the next week. I encourage them to look at what the next 10 years will look like by helping them to anticipate the changes ahead and what they mean for their business.
“If you’re not thinking that far ahead you’re not protecting your business.”
The challenges facing businesses in the digital era are vast and Digital Age Lawyers helps business owners understand what those issues may be and how to thwart them.
“Our job is to know the current law and how technology impacts that,” Ms Hawes said.
“For example, one of the biggest assets a business has is its list of customers or suppliers. If an employee leaves the business, they can take that list with them. One of the things I suggest to business owners is to put in place the right employment agreement that protects against that loss.”
The other mistake businesses unwittingly make, Ms Hawes said, was not introducing a social media policy.
“It’s incredible the number of people that are in wonderment when they realise the law does apply to social media,” she said.
“I find that people, when starting up a business, pay for a website designer and for marketing but not for legal advice.”
Digital Age Lawyers can help businesses with matters of defamation on Facebook, breaches of intellectual property or if their name is being used inappropriately online.
Ms Hawes said fees are fixed and agreed in advance so there is no bill shock.
“The reason a lot of people don’t access lawyers is because they are fearful of what it will cost and so they only get themselves into more strife,” she said.
And helping people feel empowered is the reason she decided to become a lawyer, Ms Hawes said.
“Part of my role is to educate and inform, not just lecture.”
Digital Age Lawyers is at 33/9 Hoyle Avenue, Castle Hill. Phone 8858 3211 or visit