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How to avoid business disputes from the start

Starting a new business means taking on any number of new responsibilities as an entrepreneur. Choosing a business structure, developing a product or service and hiring employees are just a few of the many tasks to address in forming your company.

Each of those decisions may bring future consequences, good and bad. Without the correct documentation, agreements and guidelines, the business could end up in jeopardy down the line because of decisions made early on. What can you do to head off these potential disputes from the start?

Get it in writing

The first step in any business organization is to ensure every agreement, contract and application is properly documented. If you're going into business with others in Texas, be sure to create a comprehensive agreement detailing each owner's roles and preparing for future developments.

LLCs, LLPs, corporations; any business entity with multiple owners requires documented agreements from the beginning. It may seem counterintuitive to plan for the ending of your business agreement from the beginning, but sometimes a partner or shareholder leaves, gets divorced or dies which could greatly affect the business if there's no written plan to handle these possibilities.

Make expectations clear for everyone

Anyone involved with your business from shareholders and managers to employees and contractors needs to know what expectations to meet within the company operations. Create and maintain an employee handbook to lay out the details of working for your company.

This can include any number of items including payroll schedules, codes of conduct, benefit plans, hours of operation and anything else you deem important for employees to know. Having these expectations in a written, well-maintained format can prove useful in any potential future employment disputes.

One of the best things you can do for your new company is to prepare for the future from the start. The added time and work can pay off down the road as a means to avoid business and employment disputes due to careful planning at the beginning. A new business owner has enough to take on, so consider using additional resources such as business and legal professionals to help prepare the new venture.

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