The legal fundamentals of running a business can vary from state to state but are mostly the same. As a business owner, knowing aspects of business law can save you from paying crushing fines or suffering from the fallout of a lawsuit. Business owners have more responsibilities than their employee counterparts and keeping up with employee, tax, and privacy laws proves you know a little about the legal fundamentals of running a business. But before you’re too far, you need more insight to keep going.
Whether you’re a new business owner just getting started or looking for a review to ensure you have everything business-related in order, this guide will prepare you to understand the legal fundamentals of running a U.S. business. From learning how to register your business to keeping up with tax laws, navigating the ins and outs of business law are sure to keep you busy and attentive. Run the most successful business you can by respecting your employees, and your customers and clients will see how mature and confident you are as a business owner.
Choose and Register Your Business Name
Choosing a business name is one of the first legal fundamentals of running a business. Choose a business name based on your business’s mission and purpose. Whether your goal is to sell products, provide services, or help another company, your business name is a priority. Choose a business that shows customers what matters most as a brand. If you’re a business based on human resources, offer customers and clients a name that reflects progress and hope. Browse the internet for some ideas to get started, and you’ll see that choosing a business name is a true art that takes patience.
Head to the IRS website and apply for a federal tax ID. Applying for a federal tax ID registers your business with local and state governments. You’ll only need federal registration if you consider trademarking your business name. In that case, you’d follow the registration process with the United States Patents and Trademarks Office. There’s no need to worry about involving attorneys yet.
According to Up Counsel, not registering isn’t a reason to panic. Writing about your business with state and local governments shows compliance and makes people think you’re trustworthy. Run a company by the book, and you’ll worry less about breaking any laws later. Register your business before you’re off and running. Otherwise, you and your lawyer might be stressed about legal complications subsequently. Whether it’s issues regarding verification purposes or how you pay your taxes, you should prioritize registering your business.
Obtain Business Permits and Licenses
As one of the legal fundamentals of running a business, business permits are there for a reason; they allow your business to operate how and where it works. You won’t get away with skipping out on obtaining the necessary business permits and licenses to run your business. Having permits or licenses from bars to restaurants to grocery stores and auto body shops can help you and your business appear more trustworthy.
For example, suppose you’re running a bar. In that case, you’d need a liquor license to run the business. Included with that liquor license are other legal fundamentals of running a business, specifically a bar business. You might also need a food handler’s permit, among several other permits and licenses. The goal isn’t necessarily about stacking up as many licenses as possible. It’s about following the legal fundamentals of running a business so customers and clients learn to respect you.
Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website to apply for permits and licenses. The website allows you to scroll down and choose permits based on states and the issuing agency behind the permit or license. As a leading resource on keeping up with the legal fundamentals of running a business, you’ll also see pertinent information regarding the consequences of not having permits. For example, the SBA would want you to know about the fines and penalties your business would incur.
Pay Your Taxes
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as a business owner, you must pay federal income tax on your business income and state income taxes if you live in an income-taxed state. Nevada, Tennessee, and California are a few examples. Ensure you know tax laws, as well as possible, as the legal fundamentals of running a business, might be tricky to understand—could you use a handy understanding of how they work?
Taxes fund our government and its unique programs. Some of your tax payments will go to Social Security and some to fund Medicare. As a business owner, paying taxes makes you a responsible tax-paying citizen. Always ensure you have enough money to adhere to this responsibility. Paying taxes also makes you feel like you’re doing your part to help society, so make sure you’re following the rules of tax law, business loan services, and paying your dues, as these are the legal fundamentals of running a business.
You don’t need a criminal law lawyer to explain the seriousness of tax fraud. From the handing down of stiff fines to filing lawsuits against your company, the legal ramifications can cripple you and your business. Recently, a South Jersey business owner failed to file payroll taxes and withheld employee taxes for months. His arrest should tell you how important it is to pay taxes. If you’re evading, a commercial insurance agent would be the only person who would no longer be interested in your business.
Follow Employment Laws
Demonstrating knowledge of employment law is among the legal fundamentals of running a business in the United States. Employee laws protect employees from discrimination and mistreatment and show customers and clients that a business is authentic and law-abiding. Your employees keep your business running; you must protect and respect the people who keep your business running smoothly.
One employee law to follow even if you have business insurance is the Equal Opportunity Act; its basis protects future and current employees from discrimination based on race, gender, or ethnicity. As a leader and business owner, you’ll want to give your employees the same opportunities and treat them fairly, regardless of their race, gender, or ethnicity, unless you want to risk experiencing a lawsuit. Do what’s fair and courteous to everyone, and there’s a strong chance you won’t have to worry about violating one of the legal fundamentals of running a business.
Make sure you treat your employees with dignity and respect. You’ll enjoy the same commitment and work ethic as people who live and work with disabilities. Making employees feel part of the team is one of many legal fundamentals of running a business. The Americans with Disabilities Act prevents you from disclosing employees’ medical records improperly, even if you rely on a Christian insurance company.
Follow Advertising Laws
As a business owner, your products and services are essential to your customers. You want them to see the benefits of your products behind the scenes. But your need to advertise doesn’t mean there aren’t promotional laws you have to follow. A law firm would want you to know about these laws and why they’re one of the legal fundamentals of running a business.
You take time exploring insurance quotes because you must be calm and methodical in understanding advertising law. At least make sure you’re not deceiving people with information based on your products. If your product can create a specific positive outcome, then consumers should report the said outcome. Consumers shouldn’t feel like they’ve been lied to or told that a product does something it doesn’t. When companies aren’t careful, these promises can lead to injuries, so make you’re following the advertising laws to keep people safe.
But whether you’re using print advertising, mobile advertising, or advertising to help your business or specific products, consumers are incredibly picky about medication and supplements. What are the true capabilities of your products and services? Think about this question the next time you get on the phone with an insurance adjuster. The more often you can say you’re following advertising laws to other people, the more people will say your company is trustworthy and reliable.
Follow Privacy Laws
Think about privacy laws as legal fundamentals of running a business. Privacy laws dictate how you can act as a business owner with people’s personal information. As a business owner, disclosing personal information about your employees and customers to marketers may violate privacy law. Check the specific privacy laws mentioned by state and federal governments to ensure you’re not crossing any lines. If you worry that you may have made the mistake of invading your employees’ or customers’ privacy, it’s important to consult with lawyers. While you may have the best intentions going forward, people who feel like their privacy was violated will have something to say about what happened.
In most cases, you’ll also notice how privacy laws are determined. Privacy laws are based on the government’s need to maintain information about individuals versus the right of individuals to feel protected against unwarranted intrusions. Here’s one way to ensure you’re following one of the essential legal fundamentals of running a business: ask what people connected to your business’s customers and employees say. Conduct a survey to determine how people feel about your company and their privacy. You get loyal employees and customers when you respect your employees’ privacy.
Continue Learning About Business Law
By now, you’ve learned most of the legal fundamentals of running a business or at least have enough information to run your business. Continue learning by reading books, taking online courses, and speaking with your attorney at length. Having an updated understanding of legal fundamentals will prepare you in case of a mistake—believe it or not, you might make one.
Whether you’re compelled to pay a workman’s compensation or a customer brings a complaint against you, knowing the legal fundamentals of running a business isn’t enough to guarantee you won’t experience legal problems later. Reference and business books can assist you in learning while studying online and add the extra depth and insight you need to become an experienced business owner. Your attorney is more knowledgeable about business law than you, so trust that an extensive conversation or two about the legal aspects of running a business is worth the effort.
The more of a critical thinker you can be, the more likely you’ve grasped the legal fundamentals of running a business in the United States. But how do you go about teaching yourself the lessons on your own? Self-paced courses are great but can leave you with unanswered questions. Allow yourself to feel curious and open-minded during your quest for knowledge. That’s where having a comprehensive learning program will help you improve your business and give you the confidence needed to make major business decisions.
Few countries are more economically prepared for people like yourself to run a business than the United States. Whether selling your products to customers and seeing them grow or providing helpful services that make a difference in people’s lives, running a business in America gives you plenty of opportunities. The critical thing to remember, however, is that you must obey the legal fundamentals of running a business in the U.S.
Today, use your head and judgment to demonstrate compliance with the law. Whether you need to understand tax law or register your business to get started, knowing how to run your business within the law will earn you respect and loyalty. From your employers to your customers to people interested in working with your business, you’ll see how you’re appreciated when you show your compliance with the law. Chances are, you know more about business law than you think, considering you made it this far.
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