Essential Legal Tips For Small Business Owners Today

This article was originally published in Forbes.

By: Doug Bend

Many business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat and are currently making tough decisions about layoffs. My law firm has been advising dozens of small business owners and startups on how to navigate the ongoing fallout from COVID-19.

Here are six tips that have helped some of our clients weather the storm and may be beneficial to your business:

1. Check in with your insurance broker.

Check in with your insurance broker to see if your policy includes business interruption coverage or other provisions to help your business during this difficult time. In addition, your insurance broker may have recommendations on what type of insurance you should have moving forward.

Your insurance should be customized to your business, which has likely changed dramatically. For example, if you recently laid off employees, you may not need as much worker’s compensation coverage. However, you may need new types of coverage because your business has likely changed how it provides its products and services.

2. Ask visitors to sign a COVID-19 waiver.

If your business has a physical location, consider asking visitors to sign a COVID-19 waiver. The waiver can include provisions such as:

• The guest acknowledges that visiting your business carries with it the risk of exposing themselves to COVID-19, which they voluntarily assume.

• The guest agrees to indemnify and hold your business harmless from any damages that may be incurred from their visit.

3. Consider signage displays.

Check in with your business attorney to see if any new signage might be recommended for your business to display, on the interior and/or exterior of your physical location, to advise guests of new risks and safety precautions that they should take.

4. Check your retainer balance.

While you’re checking in with your attorneys, ask if you have a retainer balance in their trust account. Your attorney is required to return the balance to you, which could be a helpful infusion of cash.

5. Find out if you qualify for PPP loans and tax credits.

If you have not already done so, reach out to your CPA and business banker to see if you might qualify for an SBA grant or loan. At least some of the new SBA loans may be forgiven if they are used for certain purposes, which includes paying your employees’ wages under certain conditions.

Your CPA can also advise you on important tax law changes that could help your business, such as deferring FICA taxes and the employee retention tax credit.

6. Apply for grants.

Check to see if your company might qualify for a grant from another company. For example, Facebook is offering $100 million in grants and ad credits, and Salesforce is offering $10,000 grants to small businesses.

By following these tips, you can not only protect your business moving forward, but also provide your customers with important guidance on how to stay healthy and safe.

Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.