Launching a new business is exciting but exhausting, there are so many different elements to consider that it’s easy for some things to fall through the net. However it’s essential that none of these are things that could be causing your business to inadvertently be breaking the law. If it does, then not only could you end up with a huge fine (perhaps even a prison sentence) but someone could get seriously hurt. Here are three questions to ask yourself to make sure your new business is staying on the right side of the law.
Are You Following Health and Safety Procedures To The Letter?
When it comes to keeping your business within the law, chances are the first thing you think about is health and safety. While some methods can seem a little overbearing and unnecessary, it’s taken generations of freak accidents, deaths and unfair working conditions to reach this point and so it’s important you follow them carefully.
If you deal with food for example, one small hygiene breach could result in hundreds of people suffering with food poisoning. If you work in construction, in a warehouse or with vehicles, just one rule not being followed properly could lead to serious injury or death. When it comes to businesses that deal with power tools, chemicals, vehicles, heights and machines especially, it could lead to some very nasty incidents. Make sure everyone is qualified and has the correct training, and that things like machines are up to safety standards. For example, a power cut off push switch that manually overrides everything else and stops things in an emergency, can prevent an injury or death from occurring. Even in safe working environments like offices and shops, you need to be aware of slips, trips and falls. It’s one of the most important elements to get right in your new business, and needs to be enforced consistently.
Are You Paying The Correct Tax?
As well as keeping people safe, another important legal issue when it comes to your business is paying the right tax. To do this, you need to make sure you’re keeping perfect accounts. Good accounting software and a trained staff member who knows how to use it properly is essential here, you will also need to hire a qualified tax accountant to deal with your return at the end of the year and make sure it’s all tied up properly. If the government believes you are purposely avoiding tax then you could end up badly penalised, fined and even sent to prison depending on the amount. It’s just not something you should mess around with. Make sure you have the right systems in place to work out exactly how much you’re earning so you know how much tax to pay for the year.
Do You Have The Right Licenses?
Something that new businesses can easily overlook are the licenses they need. While these aren’t usually expensive or difficult to obtain (it usually involves filling in a form and paying a fee for the year) they are a legal requirement. For example, if you have a shop or other public business, if you play music in the background on a TV or radio, then you need a license for that. There are some more obvious ones too, for example if you’re selling any age-restricted items such as alcohol, knives or cigarettes then you’ll need a license to trade. But it’s worth spending some time going through this or speaking to a lawyer before you open your doors; better to be safe than sorry and be slapped with a large fine.