A new logo. Brand colors. A fancy website. Killer copy. These are the things that most business owners focus on when it’s time for the start-up phase or the launch of a new product. But what often goes by the wayside is the bricks that you build your business on – its foundation. Whether you’re starting a brand-new business or want to revamp an existing one, it’s important to ensure you’ve got all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed. It’s always more expensive to fix a major legal problem after it has happened than to anticipate issues and fix them on the front end. Regardless of your business type, there are certain contracts and terms you should have in place. Here’s how to ensure you have a solid business foundation to protect you and your company.
NDA Agreements are Imperative to Building a Solid Business Foundation
Nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements allow you to share your ideas with business partners without fear of someone using said ideas to compete with you or steal your business. Sign NDAs before you disclose any information to a potential business partner. NDAs are key to building a solid business foundation because they protect company trade secrets, confidential information, and proprietary information not available to the public.
Website Privacy Policies Let Your Site Visitors Know Their Information is Safe
When a potential client or customer visits your site, they want to know they can trust you with their personal information. Alleviating their safety concerns from the start lets them know they can trust you for the duration of your relationship. To do this, and build a solid business foundation based on trust, website privacy policies must be in place. If you’ve been doing business online for a while, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may already be familiar to you. It’s the European law that protects the personal information and data security of European citizens.
Oh, but you’re not based in Europe, you say. It doesn’t matter. The GDPR can apply to businesses without employees or locations in Europe. That includes non-profits and businesses in the United States. Fines can be steep, so it’s best to just protect your business from the outset. Plus, it’s just a matter of time before each state comes out with its own privacy laws. Currently, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) exists to protect the privacy and personal information of California residents. The CCPA is fairly new and went into effect in January 2020. However, it’s not unreasonable to expect that other states will soon follow suit, and, in fact, they are already starting.
Overall, both the GDPR and CCPA govern how you protect and handle the personal identifying information of the people who visit your site or those you interact with on the internet. Having website privacy policies in place from the start will ensure a solid business foundation and allow you to build trust with potential clients. Otherwise, you are facing hefty fines that could even put you out of business. And these laws go beyond just privacy policies and also how you collect information.
A Solid Business Foundation Also Begins With Independent Contractor Agreements
When you start a business for yourself, you may not think you’ll be bringing on people to work with you. After all, this is your business and you intend to run it yourself, right? But oftentimes there are certain tasks you just don’t have time for. Or you feel that someone with a particular skill set could likely do it better and faster.
If you outsource to an independent contractor, an Independent Contractor Agreement will lay out key terms and provisions. It also ensures you retain ownership of commissioned work because all copyright must be transferred by signed writing. This agreement is ideal for various contractors, graphic designers, web developers, social media managers, interns, copywriters, and more.
Every website should include basic terms that indicate how people can interact with your website. If you’re not familiar with how this works, simply think back to the social media platform Meta, formerly known as Facebook. If you’ve ever been in a heated online ‘discussion’ in the comments section, you may have found yourself in “Facebook Jail” for violating one of the site’s terms of service.
Transfer of Copyright Agreement Grants You Ownership of Commissioned Works
Just because you pay for a graphic designer to create your logo for you, or you have an illustrator draw the pictures for your book, doesn’t mean you automatically own those creations. A Transfer of Copyright agreement is important to have in your back pocket. If you’re intent on having a solid business foundation, it makes sense to have a Transfer of Copyright agreement template. You may not need it today, but you know you won’t be scrambling later when you decide to have new t-shirts designed for your next trade show.
Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice nor forms an attorney-client relationship
between the reader and Hughley Smith Law.