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Honing Your Business Law Skills
Regardless of one’s legal background, there are innumerable benefits to having a firm grasp of business law under your belt. If you currently plan or hope to own or operate a business, a strong understanding of business law can only help.
When it comes to running a business, there are legal hurdles to clear before success. Honing your business laws skills means acquiring all the legal information regarding business conduct.
Across industries, different laws apply. However, by focusing your legal acumen on some general areas of business practices, you can better be prepared to run and work for any business. Laws surrounding business formation, employment, and tax obligations should be the focus of your legal studies.
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Laws Regarding Starting a Business
When it comes to starting a business, not understanding basic laws can end your venture before it begins. The formation of any business means legal hurdles to consider. These include, but are not limited to:
- Meeting regulations
- Continuing operations
- Budgeting for legal expenses
Honing your business law skills requires a comprehensive study of each of these areas and the ways laws can affect starting a business. By understanding regulations and the legal issues that can arise in business formation, you set yourself up for success.
Start by understanding what it takes to open. A variety of licenses and permits are required to legally start and operate a business. Depending on your location, these laws can vary, so a comprehensive understanding of what is needed requires thorough research. Examine local laws and ordinances as well as thoughts surrounding your specific industry.
Common licenses and permits include:
- Fire department permit
- Air and water pollution control permit
- Sign permits
- Governmental licenses
- Tax licenses
- Health department permits
Which of these licenses you need depends on the type of business you intend to open as well as its location. Each permit includes various hurdles for you to pass. Make a comprehensive checklist of the requirements you need to complete before maintaining the necessary permit.
Local law offices and even public libraries will be able to provide the information and materials you need to comply with the relevant regulations. Then, make a plan for filing all the proper paperwork through the corresponding government agencies when the time comes to put your business law skills to good use.
Building an adequate understanding of business formation regulations requires a good sense of commercial awareness, as well. Keep up to date with your industry or specialist area, making note of legal challenges you read about in the news and relative publications. A great way to hone your business law skills is by simply learning from the mistakes of others. Build a business law understanding based on what works and what doesn’t across different industries.
Laws regarding hiring and human resource policy
Another essential aspect of any business practice is acquiring and maintaining a workforce. Without a clear understanding of the laws surrounding equitable human resource policies, you open your business up to liability issues.
Business laws regarding hiring practices typically focus on equitability. Discrimination of any kind should be avoided at all costs, with special attention paid to the ways in which discrimination can occur unknowingly.
Keep up to date on the laws in your region regarding hiring, and maintain the proper requirements in keeping and processing new workers. The legal requirements during the hiring process can include:
- Obtaining tax identification numbers for each new employee
- Setting up tax withholding for income taxes
- Acquiring unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance for your business
- Posting all required health, safety, and legal notices
- Following all health and safety mandates
A key element of maintaining a legally sustainable business is paying specific attention to social sustainability. Ethical, legal treatment of employees helps to ensure your business will thrive while mitigating potential damages in the form of lawsuits. Without sustainable social practices, you will be unable to keep workers safely employed.
Maintain a clear understanding of the legal requirements regarding your employees and employment practices. Hone your legal skills by studying human resource ordinances and watch out for potential legal pitfalls in improper hiring etiquette.
Tax laws for any workplace
Tax laws can become incredibly complex for many business operators. With many companies operating across state or country lines, tax obligations can be problematic to decipher. Keeping tabs on each type of common business tax line, however, helps you avoid legal trouble while maintaining an accurate budget.
Here are some tax types typically of modern business:
- Income taxes
- Self-employment tax for business income
- Estimated taxes
- Sales taxes
- Property taxes
- Excise taxes
- Employment and payroll taxes
- Gross receipts tax
- Dividend tax
As the trend of commerce shifts towards e-commerce, your business law skills need to accommodate the digital economy. Tax laws differ in e-commerce, where business operations often cannot be pinned down to specific locations. Because of this, a complex system of regulations can apply to e-commerce practices.
For businesses with a digital component such as an online store, an awareness of e-commerce tax laws is a necessity. Hone your legal skills by studying the overlap of global regulators when it comes to digital taxation.
Tips for improving your business law skills
Any interested entrepreneur should make honing their business law skills an aspect of their personal development. Understanding business law helps you create and manage a business that can protect itself against potential liability issues. In turn, this protects your revenues and investments.
Here are a few tips to develop your business law skills:
Keep up to date with industry news. Issues faced by others in your industry can inform problems that could occur in your own business.
Subscribe to business law publications. By being well-read, you can better understand legal hurdles and how to overcome them.
Enroll in a business course. You don’t necessarily need a degree, but by continuing your education in a formal class setting, you can pick up some knowledge you may not find elsewhere.
Consult legal professionals. A meeting with a business law professional could give you enough tips to start and manage your own company safely.
Honing your business law skills means maintaining an awareness of legal issues in business creation, hiring policies, and tax obligations and there are a variety of ways that entrepreneurs can acquire this awareness. From reading relevant publications to enrolling in law courses, honing your legal acumen can be an accessible way to propel your business to success.
About the Author
Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.