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How to keep your trade secrets under lock and key

As a South Carolina business owner, you understand that no day, week or even year in the business world is perfect. Within your own company, you and your employees experience ups and downs. You do your best to overcome any obstacles that arise and you rejoice when you are on top of your game, workers' morale is high and profit is rolling in. At the same time, you know that if you want to maintain the highest level of success possible, there are certain issues of paramount importance.

Your company didn't get where it is today because you sat back and did nothing. You've always prided yourself on taking an active role on the main front and behind the scenes in your business. Lately, you've been hearing about many other business owners who have suffered economic losses after someone stole their trade secrets. Protecting your company's interests is your highest priority, so you want to know how to avoid a similar outcome. Knowing where to turn for help is a good place to start.

Could ADR work for you or is litigation needed?

In business, you certainly know that some decisions are easier to make than others. Over the years, you have likely also had your fair share of disagreements with partners, employees, shareholders or other individuals close to your company. While many of these disagreements may have come to relatively easy resolutions, you may end up facing more formal dispute resolution proceedings if serious issues, like a breach of contract, come about.

Though you may hope that you could resolve your conflicts with as little upset as possible, taking legal action may prove necessary in some instances. However, you do not always have to move straight toward litigation. Alternative dispute resolution methods may help you reach effective conclusions without litigation or in conjunction with litigation.

Which type of business entity best suits your needs?

You may have had a lifelong dream to one day start your own company. Now that the time to begin doing so has come, you may feel a great deal of excitement and apprehension. Though you certainly want to get your business up and running as soon as possible, you will need to answer many questions and make numerous decisions just to get the process started long before your business can open its doors.

One of the first decisions you may need to make relates to the type of entity you want to create with your company. Different options exist, and in order to determine the business structure that could work best for your situation, you may wish to find out more information on your options.

Staying afloat after the loss of a beloved partner

A business partnership can become like family, and you may feel your partner is more like a sibling. Even if you and your partner went through rough patches, the success of your South Carolina business is a testament to your compatibility and respect for one another. This is why the sudden loss of your partner may be a devastating blow to you, both personally and professionally.

You may feel the urge to step aside for a while and allow yourself to grieve the loss of your friend. However, you may honor your partner better by not allowing the tragedy to jeopardize the success the two of you built together.

Should you get a copyright to protect your business interests?

There are several different types of legal protections available to small businesses. The specific protections you need depend largely upon the nature of your business and what property could be at stake. One of these protections is a copyright, which could offer your intellectual property a measure of protection against theft and illegal use.

As a small business owner in South Carolina, you may be unsure of which protections you need to have in place. A copyright may not be the best choice for you, but it could allow you to secure certain aspects of your business interests. At the very least, it could be beneficial to explore if a copyright or another step is necessary for your future success.

A succession plan can't wait until later

The most successful way to run a race is to keep the goal in mind. This may be true of running a business as well. Knowing you have an end plan in place and working toward it may make your efforts more rewarding, especially if your goal is to pass on a thriving business to a well-prepared successor.

The person who will take over the reins of your company will understand your business philosophy and appreciate the legacy which you place into his or her hands. However, you certainly don't expect that person to walk through your office doors out of nowhere, keys in hand, ready to take over. In fact, the only way to have a successor in line when you step down is to groom someone for the job.

Incentives available to South Carolina businesses

As a business owner, you know how important and beneficial it is to get a financial boost from time to time. In order to support local businesses and attract new businesses to the area, some parts of South Carolina offer various types of financial incentives.

You could have a rightful claim to some type of incentive or government program, but it can be difficult to figure out what is available and how to go about claiming it. You may find it beneficial to reach out for help regarding the requirements, applications and eligibility for certain programs. You would be wise not to leave money on the table that could help your business.

Do you need contracts when hiring new employees?

There is no law that states you must enter into a formal relationship with every employee by having that individual sign a contract, but it could be a smart step toward protecting your business interests. By doing this, both you and your employee agree to fulfill the obligations outlined in the contract. 

Employee contracts should be thoughtful and carefully worded in order to avoid conflicts and problems in the future. With the help of a South Carolina attorney experienced in business law, you can be certain that your employee contracts protect your business both now and as long as that employee works for you. 

Protecting property interests at every level of your business

Protecting your property is about more than just setting up a security system and installing motion detectors. Protecting your interests should also extend to the property that you cannot see -- your intellectual property. When someone steals that invaluable type of asset, they could be taking your ideas, your competitive advantage and your livelihood.

Intellectual property includes anything from book ideas to secret recipes, and protecting it is not an easy process. You can take steps to secure whatever is in your IP portfolio by working with a South Carolina lawyer who can identify where you are vulnerable and walk you through the appropriate legal processes.

Is an LLC right for your new business?

Choosing an entity type for your new business demands careful consideration. Undoubtedly, your fellow entrepreneurs and others might share with you that a limited liability company gives you the best options. Well, it's true that LLCs offer many benefits, but they also come with limitations that could cause you to make a different choice.

The only way you can know for sure requires you to understand the pros and cons of forming a limited liability company. Knowing how the choice of an LLC will help shape your business will help you make an informed decision.

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