Why you should think twice before taking business decisions based on legal blogs and Facebook groups.
Have you ever Googled “employment contract template”?
Then you’re like the majority of small business owners that choose to trust the Internet instead of a lawyer.
Does it make sense to you? Neither to us but we can understand:
Lawyers are expensive – when you start a business you try to save every penny you can.
Luckily for you, in our information age, it seems like everyone is an expert on everything. All your peers, friends and family seem to have an opinion on how you’re supposed to run your new venture.
And they come all over you with advice….Some of it good and some of it not so much…and some of it really scary. We don’t know about all of the advice you get (although you should double check everything you’re told) but we have enough experience with business law to know the good, the bad and the ugly of it. And the worst advice about it.
The Worst Business Law Advice We’ve Ever Heard is….
…..”Just Google it…!”
And we know that it can seem like a pretty awesome idea at first glance because of all the free information that’s out there but here is why it’s a horrible thing to do from a lawyer’s viewing point:
Everyone Can Give Business Law Advice Online
Years ago there was a common panic all over the Internet about the fact that everyone can edit and post an article on Wikipedia. A crazy friend even tried and changed major historical events and gave new names to some parts of the human body.
Wikipedia has changed to prevent this but the freedom of expression online hasn’t. Everyone can post anything online – fact and fiction. And with a little SEO, works of fiction can become the first Google search result for “debt recovery procedures”.
The thought of trusting someone without the reputable background and proof with your business isn’t the most pleasing, is it?
How Do You Know If Someone Else Didn’t Sink With This Advice
Even if the person you learn from online is a lawyer, how can you trust them without a proven track record? They could have lost their license and still publish legal advice!
Trusting Google means trusting a vast variety of lawyers and wannabe lawyers. There are many benefits of getting legal information for free but it’s useless without the right education to apply it. In this post we talk about the difference between the two and why you need to invest in legal education despite all the free information online.
Legislations change…all the time
The Australian Consumer and Competition Law (ACCC) that governs most of your commercial activity even changes every year. Not completely, but the important amendments added by parliament have a huge impact on the way businesses, and especially small businesses, operate.
Information online is often dated and you can always look at the publication date to make sure this is the latest legislation regarding your concern. However, many publications aren’t. And even if that’s not the fact, how can you know if you’re looking at the latest amendment even if it was done yesterday?
Location, location, location…
Where is your business registered? Where are you operating?
Although most of Australia’s business governing laws are similar if not the same across states and territories, there are substantial differences. And again, they’re in the small tiny details that can cost you your business.
Information online often refers to specific locations and that’s great but when it doesn’t you need to think twice before accepting it at face value.
Your lawyer can give you the best advice on local legislations and opportunities. Not Google Local.
Doesn’t you time cost anything?
Finding the basic features of each business structure before you start a business can be a pretty straight-forward task with minimum risk involved. But when things get complex with a dispute, a lawsuit or a claim from your customers or a debt collector, it’s time to call a lawyer.
Yes, that will cost you.
But so will online research (plus you run the risk of getting into deeper legal trouble and losing a lot of money). It might not cost you anything in dollar amounts but it will cost you a lot of time. And your time is the most important commodity you have as an entrepreneur and business owner.
Put a price tag on your time! Online research isn’t for free and might cost you more in wasted time, anxiety and stress than consulting a lawyer.
You see? The do-it-yourself approach to business law is not your best idea.
However, we can’t deny that legal education, business law books, blogs and workshops are a vital resource for small business owners. Without those you would be doomed to spend all your profit on a lawyer.
The only thing you need to watch out for is the thin line between doing it yourself and knowing when to call the lawyer.
You can kill two birds with one stone by actually educating yourself on common topics of business law and becoming more efficient.
Find seminars, training and workshops on business law for non lawyers by reputable law firms or the local government. You won’t become a lawyer but you’ll be legally savvy enough to give small business advice yourself.
Want to Learn More About Making Business Law Work In Your Advantage?
And I want to give you a FREE eBook that will help you start off on the right foot with business law, save money on legal fees, avoid legal trouble and create a legally sexy business.
Want it? Get the ebook here.
If you want to take your knowledge of social media law one step further to leverage it in your business’ advantage, follow Aquarius Education on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so you can be the first to hear about our dates of the Social Media Law For Business workshops in your area.
See you there!