One important responsibility of a small business owner is protecting both the business and employees from legal liability. The first step for a business owner should be to talk to attorneys to ensure that they have someone available to deal with any legal issues.
Business owners must be scrupulous about avoiding conflicts of interest and other activities that could endanger the company’s reputation. Doing business with groups or other companies that have a bad reputation could, in turn, hurt the reputation of the business. Sitting on a community board and passing an initiative that would ultimately favor the business could be a conflict of interest even if that is not the owner’s motivation. Employees also need to understand what constitutes a conflict of interest.
Liability insurance can offer protection to the business, the business owner, and employees. The type needed can vary according to industry. For example, premises liability insurance can offer protection if a client, customer, vendor, or other individual is injured on the company’s property. It does not have to be a dangerous site for this to happen. A customer could slip and fall on the floor. Some businesses may need errors and omissions insurance, which can offer protection if there has been an error or a failure to fulfill the contract. Finally, there might be some types of insurance that are industry-specific, such as malpractice insurance for a medical office.
Another reason that having an attorney on retainer can be useful is for help in writing contracts that include liability protection. Like many elements of protecting employees and businesses, this will cost some money upfront but can save a great deal of money in the future. This type of clause would protect the business if it could not fulfill the terms of the contract for some reason.
Files and confidential information must be protected, and there needs to be a protocol in place for employees who work from home or any location outside of the office if they are dealing with sensitive data. Businesses should also have backup plans in place in case of unexpected occurrences ranging from weather events to pandemics and more. This can help ensure that the company is able to fulfill contracts despite these challenges.