The Warrensville Heights Area Chamber of Commerce AM Learning Series brings together a group of subject matter experts to moderate a lively discussion and address questions each month. The June discussion focused on different trends and tips in the fields of legal and finance, featuring Nick Weiss, Esq. from Gertsburg Law Firm, Terrence Jackson from First Federal Lakewood, and Jackie Huggins Jones from Breaking Chains Inc. Here is a summary of what was covered in that discussion:
In both fields of legal and finance, the roundtable discussion focused on the theme of education to prevent mistakes or future scenarios that can have a negative impact. In the age of entrepreneurism and risk-taking, businesses need to be aware of the different issues and trends that face them in both legal and finance. Our discussion leaders outlined these topics and included tips to help keep businesses on track.
Main Issues in Legal
As an attorney for the Gertsburg Law Firm, Nick Weiss shared three trends he notices in the legal field that are affecting small to midsized businesses. He also shared tips for each trend to help businesses avoid these potential liabilities.
The first trend is that business owners are hiring contractors that say they are licensed or insured, but really, are not covered for what the business needs them to be. Small business owners can get taken advantage of. If the license or insurance is incorrect, a job can easily turn into an expensive repair, both physically and legally.
Tip #1 Always ask for a copy of the bond or insurance from your contractor. You need to know what it does and what it says, making sure it matches your business’s needs.
Read Bonds and Insurance for Contractors: Why Most Homeowners Won’t be Protected for more on this topic.
The second trend in legal is that harassment policies are still terrible. Today, there are movements and a wealth of public knowledge on this subject. However, companies are still behind. Either having weak policies or no policy at all.
Tip #2 Make sure your business has a harassment policy, but don’t get your policies online! They often don’t cover what you need them to. Businesses spend too much time undoing problems… have it right from the start.
Find our previous article on crafting a workplace sexual harassment policy on the COSE website, including a sample policy you can use.
The third trend is that small to mid-sized businesses are waiting too long to mitigate their risk. Anyone that has a front-facing business and deals with consumers should familiarize themselves with the Consumer Sales Practices Act. From the Ohio Attorney General, “the Consumer Sales Practices Act protects individual consumers from unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable sales practices in connection with consumer transactions”. This statute is to protect consumers for aggressive salesmanship or deceptive conduct from a business.
Tip #3 Make sure your business has the correct statutory conduct language. Don’t wait too long to mitigate your risk, protect yourself and save your business thousands of potential dollars.
For more information on the Consumer Sales Practices Act, read our series on the CSPA by Mark Turner.
Main Issues in Finance
As the Electronic Banking Product Manager, Terrence Jackson spoke on the financial trend of mobile banking. There is no doubt that banking is more electronic and will continue that way, but the big question for this discussion was how to utilize this trend in mobile apps for business. There is a demand from businesses to have the same convenience of personal banking apps applied to their businesses. Unfortunately, in banking, consumers are protected from certain things that businesses are not, creating a lag in the advancement of mobile banking for businesses.
Jackie Huggins Jones from Breaking Chains Inc. spoke to the downward trend in banking and financial knowledge. It seems today that not many people understand the fundamentals of finance. As younger generations flow into future business owners, it is important to educate them, and starting businesses, the best ways to save. They have to know how their money works and understand the separation of funds before they can truly become successful.
The financial tip: Since finances are an issue that everyone deals with, business and personal, the main financial tip from the AM roundtable was to be open to discussing resources your employees can go to for financial education. The idea is to create a work-life balance. Your employees are active members in the economy and everyone can benefit from a solid financial foundation.
The Key Takeaway
In case you missed it, the key thing to remember is to stay educated on your legal and financial procedures. Being knowledgeable on both topics can prevent your business from getting into trouble and save you money. The initial investment is often worth the risk.
The Warrensville Heights Area Chamber of Commerce works to promote, enhance, and foster the growth of business in the area communities of Highland Hills, North Randall and Warrensville Heights, Ohio. Want to grow your business? What can you learn from local businesses? And what trends can you expect in 2019? Come to the AM Learning Series to discuss these topics — and more — with a group of subject matter experts who will moderate a lively discussion and address your questions. Visit whacc.org to subscribe, get involved, or join.
The attorneys of Gertsburg Law are available to speak at business locations and trade organizations on both legal and non-legal topics. Would you like to have one of our attorneys present a topic to your employees or members? See a list of topics and get more information by visiting www.gertsburglaw.com/media/speaking-opportunities/.
Are your policies and documents protecting your business or getting you sued? Check 10 areas of your business for legal risks and get instant feedback from experienced attorneys right now by taking a short online quiz at bit.ly/CM6quiz. Or schedule a confidential, no-cost CM6 Vulnerability Check with Gertsburg Law Firm. CEO Alex Gertsburg will walk you through the minefields in your documents and key processes and tell you how to fix them yourself. Call 440-571-7774 or e-mail [email protected] to schedule your CM6 Vulnerability Check today. Explore the full CoverMySix legal audit suite at covermysix.com.