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Owners owe it to their businesses to protect them

Small businesses, much like young ones, can feel more fragile than their larger brethren in the marketplace. When things are just getting started, many businesses are sole proprietorships. One person owns it, and that person is responsible for most or all of the company's actions or expressions. But this is not the only issue, and it is generally not the safest.

Limited liability partnerships and corporations (LLPs and LLCs) can help protect owners' and operators' personal assets. The legal structure of these organizations keeps those sorts of assets separate, so individuals behind the businesses have a better chance at weathering a lawsuit or other challenge. But people can do a lot to protect their businesses regardless of their forms.

The first move is to watch one's words. Public statements and business dealings become a ruler for an organization's abilities, and statements can cause either legal problems or poor public images. Care in choosing business partners is also important, as the partners' image can be attached to your business as well.

Liability insurance may also be a good move, as it makes it far more likely for a business to weather a legal challenge. Insurance opens up options for settling out of court or dealing with a jury verdict without losing all the assets that a business needs to survive and grow.

Another good move is to hire an attorney that can pay attention to the important legal background of starting and running a business. A lawyer can represent a business' interests or the interests of its owners and help keep things running for the future.

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