Did you know that more than 600,000 people launch businesses every year? This year, you may want to be one of that number. But before you hang out your shingle, there are some laws you need to know about.
Business law governs every aspect of how you run your business, from taxes and finances to health and safety and more. Read on to learn more about this area of law and how it will impact your company.
What Is Business Law?
Before we get into all the different types of business law, let’s talk some about what it is. Business law is a broad class of the law that covers all the regulations that impact how you run a business. This can include everything from how you manage and compensate your employees to how you market to customers.
Whether you currently run your own business or you’re planning on starting one up soon, you’re going to want to be familiar with business law. There are some laws that apply throughout the country and others that only apply in your state, county, or city. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your local regulations before you launch your business.
One of the biggest aspects of business law deals with employee rights and wages. You can only require employees to work a certain number of hours, which are dependent on whether they’re full- or part-time. You also have to provide sick leave and adequate holidays, a break area and the appropriate resources to do their job.
You are also required to pay your employees at least minimum wage, which can differ based on which state you’re in. For instance, the national minimum wage as of this writing is $7.25 an hour, but California’s minimum wage for companies with more than twenty-five employees is $15 an hour. Make sure you check up on your state’s minimum wage before you start hiring.
Health and Safety
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you have to ensure your premises are safe for everyone who may enter them. This includes employees and customers, delivery workers, maintenance crews, and so on. Depending on the industry you’re in, you may have specific safety regulations you have to comply with.
Many companies, especially those in higher-risk industries, employ at least one safety consultant to make sure they’re in compliance with all the appropriate regulations. If you have a large company in a high-risk field, you might need a whole team of safety officers. Failing to maintain appropriate health and safety standards can lead to liability and workers’ comp lawsuits.
Data Protection in Business Law
If you handle sensitive data from customers, you are responsible for keeping that data secure. Of course, this is most important for companies in fields like medicine or finances, which deal with large amounts of confidential data. But if you run an online store that accepts credit card payments, you could be responsible for keeping that information secure.
How much your business is responsible for will depend on the laws in your state, county, and/or city. You may have to take extra steps to secure your servers, verify customer identity, and so on. If you’re unsure about how to manage the regulations in your area, talk to an IT consultant or a business lawyer specializing in data protection in your region.
Taxes and Finances
Aside from employee rights, taxes and finances may be one of the biggest areas of business law. We all have to pay taxes, and business taxes operate very differently from personal taxes. In fact, taxes for small LLCs are tremendously different from taxes for large corporations, even though they’re both under the business tax umbrella.
It’s a good idea to hire an accountant to help you manage the taxes and finances for your business in a smart, legal way. They’ll be well-versed in your state’s specific regulations for your business type. They can also help you prepare for mergers, IPOs, and other such processes if your business goes through those changes.
Marketing and Sales
Business law doesn’t stop at the office door; however – it extends all the way into the messaging you send to your customers. Many of us know about the laws dealing with false claims in advertising (and a few stories about companies that have run afoul of them). You also have to be careful about the avenues you use to reach out to potential new customers.
Once you get customers in the door, you have to obey a whole separate set of regulations. You may have to have a license to trade goods, and you might be required to follow certain regulations surrounding the sale. This issue can become even more complicated if you plan to sell to customers in other countries, even online.
Learn More About Business Law
Business law is a wide-ranging area covering every aspect of running a company, from hiring your first employees to selling products to customers. There are laws governing how much you pay, safety measures at your location, how you protect your customers’ data, and so on. In many cases, it’s a good idea to hire an expert in the area of business law you’re dealing with to ensure you stay compliant with the law.
If you’d like to learn more about business law, check out the rest of our site at Boyer Law Firm. When you run into a business lawsuit, let us do the heavy lifting and resolve your case quickly. Contact us for a case evaluation today and discover how we can protect your business.