no image

5 Ways To Subpoena Proof Your Small Business

January 1, 2013 Business Thinking

For many entrepreneurs, your business is like another one of your children.  And like any parent, you want to protect thatsign_contract child.  In the world of business, this means protecting your small business from the litigious bullies that want to take it to court and take more than just your business’ lunch money.  Here are 5 ways to subpoena-proof your small business and give your company the safety it deserves.

1.  Take care of your legal needs: Though it might be a bit expensive, having an attorney go through your company’s business model, documents, patents, rights and practices and identifying any possibilities of legal contention is the best subpoena-prevention your company can have.  Preparation is always the best prevention.  Part of that legal preparation includes getting proper liability insurance in case of lawsuits.

2.  Get it in writing: In conjunction with rule number 1, you want to have records of all company activities, contracts and agreements in writing and signed by your customers.  Before supplying your company with ammo and evidence in the courtroom, having written documentation also gives your customers an exact idea of what to expect or what they’re getting from your company and can help mitigate lawsuits simply by being transparent.  As the verbal contract has gone the way of the dodo, getting everything in writing has become more important than ever.

3.  Don’t be caught off guard:  You never, ever want your business to be surprised by a lawsuit.  You’ve got to be aware of any and all potential reasons a person might want to take your company to court.  This could be anything from intellectual property issues to simply hurt feelings based on a customer’s treatment.  Be aware of customer complaints and grievances and try to address them as best you can before things get out of hand.

4.  Face the complaint: Many of the situations that eventually lead to a lawsuit start out as small customer service complaints.  These complaints spiral out of control either by a failure to take action or a failure to address or even recognize the issue.  Be aware of complaints and don’t simply write them off or leave them for one of your employees to handle; micromanaging problems is one of the surest ways to incite bad blood and subsequently a lawsuit.  Sometimes the simplest way of satisfying the customer’s complaints is to get involved yourself.  An owner taking action shows the customer respect and commitment and, who knows, could even result in a long term relationship.

5. Brace yourself internally: Most company’s lawsuits are between employer and employee, usually regarding wrongful termination, discrimination and unfair practices.  Make sure your company follows all rules and regulations in terms of the hiring process as well as in employee treatment.  Learn and abide by OSHA regulations and have an attorney point out any aspects of your company that might pose hazards to your employees.  This also includes making sure your employees are properly trained and made aware of your company’s practices and policies (this is especially true to avoid many harassment suits).

By following these five steps, your company should be transformed into a well-armed, subpoena-proof business tank, allowing you more time and freedom to grow your business in the absence of litigious anxiety.

About the Author: Brett Gold covers Hays Firm. He has worked in the legal industry for over 10 years. In his free time he enjoys catching up on the Game of Thrones book series.