Protecting Your Small Business While Expanding

Your startup phase was successful and you’re getting comfortable with your niche in the domestic market. It’s time to begin the next phase of your business plan – global expansion. As you kick off that phase, you’ll open your business up to new legal challenges. Here are some of the key areas where you’ll need additional legal protection as you grow.

Hiring and Maintaining Resources

As you expand into other global markets, you may want to hire staff and contractors in those areas to help. These new resources will help you understand the cultural factors that affect your product distribution and any language barriers. You’ll also be faced with the local employment laws regulating how you manage those new people.

A legal consultant specializing in employment and labor law in other countries will be a resource you’ll come to rely on. They will be critical in addressing such areas as:

  • local regulations on hiring practices
  • creation of employment agreements
  • creation of contract worker agreements
  • rules regarding disciplinary actions against employees
  • domestic and foreign income tax issues and benefits

Make sure you have the right contracts and agreements in place before you start hiring international workers so you’ll be in compliance with local regulations from the start.

Patents and Trademarks

Some countries have an agreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to uphold licenses held by U.S. companies within their own country. Other countries require you to apply for a patent using their process. Work with a patent and trademark lawyer to make sure your products are safe before marketing in the global areas. Where you aren’t protected, you risk having your products duplicated and sold as cheaper knock-off versions.

Having your trademark protected is important to your branding efforts in other countries. Where you are vulnerable, you may see products sold using a slight variation of your logo or marketing slogan.

Import and Export

International trade laws govern how your products get across a border and into a country. An import/export attorney will help you decipher the complex tariffs required to move your products around the world. A lawyer will help you find the right shippers to get your products into your target markets legally so they aren’t held up at shipyards and airports.

Expanding your business into global markets requires understanding how to protect your business from various human resource, transportation and distribution, and patent regulations. Rely on local legal help to navigate these complex rules so you can easily grow and become a globally recognized business.

Contact a professional like Alterman & Associates LLC to learn more.