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Small Business Legal Matters

One unfortunate truth of being in business is that you might at some point get sued or get into some legal trouble. While not every lawsuit will be legitimate, it’s important to know what to do when you do get sued so you are prepared.

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Starting a company is a risky business. In the early stages, there is a significant chance of failure. One in five small businesses do not last beyond their first year.  Thirty per cent of small business fail in their second year, 50% fail after five years, and 70% fail in their tenth year in operation.

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Businesses have enough to worry about; one of the major things being competition from outside sources, so fraud that takes place within a business can be viewed as an avoidable problem. Not only do employers have to be extremely vigilant to defend against external threats from their competitors, but they also must be constantly looking for indications that their employees may be stealing from the company from within for personal gain.
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Going to court is not something any business owner savours. It can also be a costly exercise, which can hit a small business hard.

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Readers question: I incorporated my company name in 2007 with the initials “CLA” included as part of the full name. Recently I received a letter from lawyers representing another company who also use “CLA” in their company name and want me to rebrand and stop using CLA as part of the full name. I noticed they registered a trademark for CLA in 2009. I also notice there are hundreds of companies using CLA as part of their full company name. Can you please advise if I will be forced to change my company name?

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Many business owners don’t consider their contract’s terms and conditions as a priority. Some would even copy from their competitors or use templates without understanding its contents. However, doing so may expose your business to some legal complications later on.

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In the latest research carried out by PolicyBee, it was found that small businesses are quite perplexed with Professional Indemnity Insurance and it causes quite the confusion. This confusion and lack of understanding resulted in around 40% of respondents not getting a professional indemnity cover, leaving them exposed.

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Disgruntled creditors get desperate, and when all approaches to recover a debt have failed, they may send a winding-up petition to the beleaguered company as a last resort to get paid. It’s an extremely serious move and not one that should be taken lightly as it’s typically preceded by a statutory demand. In the UK, HMRC is the most common business creditor and is normally aggressive in its pursuit of tax liabilities. The majority (60%) of all winding up petitions are served by HMRC.

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Readers Questions:  I’m buying a business with customers, can I contact them or not because of GDPR?

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For a lot of people, starting their own business requires a huge leap of faith. The reason behind this is simple – it is most often a step into an unfamiliar world, where you cannot be sure whether any of it is going to work out, even if you have a brilliant business idea. However, the very fact that you are seriously thinking about it is already enough for a good start. You are aware of the risks, and you have already heard all the intimidating statistics on startup failure.

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Reviews can be an important part of attracting new customers for small businesses, and most consumers now utilise reviews and ratings to give them guidance on whether or not to use the services or products on offer.

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As a small business owner, you know the only thing that’s certain in business is that the unexpected will happen. Preparing for these unexpected events is therefore one of the most crucial parts of your role as business owner. After all, no one else is going to help you anticipate the challenges you will face in the course of doing business, and some of your competitors might even be hoping that you don’t anticipate them so your business will fail.
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It is not a widely known fact, but company directors can receive statutory redundancy pay from their limited company under certain circumstances. If your company becomes insolvent and has to be liquidated, whether this happens on a voluntary basis or forcibly via a creditor’s winding-up petition, you may be eligible to make a claim.

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No matter how careful you try to be, your business is sure to face at least some legal issues. Up to 53 percent of all small businesses are involved in at least one lawsuit or a legal issue in any given year, and those events can bring a company to a grinding halt. These four measures will help you protect your business from indictments and lawsuits. Ogborn Mihm highlights the ways in which you can protect your business.
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Whether you work for yourself or run a small business, the most difficult thing to manage is cash flow. So, what can you do if you are owed money and the person is ignoring all your phone calls and letters? Firstly, don’t panic! Late payments has become part of the small business culture, but there may be some who try to evade making payments. This is when you will need to look at the debt collection, and really take what is yours.

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In the latest report by the FSB (Federation of Small Business) it was found that a large number of small businesses are still unprepared for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Over half of the respondents either had not yet started preparing for the legislation to go into effect or were only at the early stages of compliance. To combat the lack of compliance, the FSB has launched a campaign to get small businesses compliant before the deadline. The countdown has begun, and the GDPR deadline is well under a 100 days away.

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GDPR is approaching, prowling behind us, waiting. On May 25, 2018, it’ll pounce. Despite this looming deadline, 52% of companies still don’t feel ready, expecting to be fined for non-compliance.

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In the second Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, conducted by Forrester Consulting, it was found that nearly three quarters of the 4,103 organisations surveyed, lack strategy when it comes to cyber security. 73% of organisations are deemed cyber novices, with the three categories being ‘cyber novice’, ‘cyber intermediate’ and ‘cyber expert’, and only 11% of organisations that participated in the study were deemed cyber experts.

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Data breaches and the protection of data has never been more prominent in the business world. Data breaches can be in the form of data theft or the loss of data through other means, whatever form they take, they can be detrimental to businesses. With GDPR going into effect May 2018, businesses need to do all they can in order to comply with the regulation. One of the major parts of the regulation is to ensure the protection of data or facing dire consequences.

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Would you rather have one Lamborghini or three Ford Fiestas? It’s all about quality over quantity; a well known concept that can often be overlooked in sales and marketing. Here, Howard Williams from Parker Software explains why it is better to have a database of 100 high-quality leads, rather than thousands of dead ends, and how imminent changes to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will help you achieve this clarity.
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