Google Me This, Facebook Me That....
So you are well on the road to business ownership. Things have been going well and you are getting into the groove of your business, you've created a balance of running the business and providing the goods or services to the consumer, and you finally have some cash flow coming in.
Then all of the sudden you read a story on Facebook or someone mentions something to you in passing that you did not know about or consider. Now you are completely distraught and afraid you may lose it all because you didn't know or didn't think of this one thing. Your immediate response is to whip out your cell phone and google the thing you need help with.
But does that really help with your peace of mind. Google is great to give you quick information and answer general questions. What it is not great at is providing you with real answers to your specific situation. More than that, it may give false information or information overload. So now you are even more panicked. Your next step is obviously to go into the social media vortex and post a question on Facebook. That also has disaster written all over it. Everyone is an expert. They know it themselves, have a friend that the exact same thing happened to or they know a guy who can help you. So now you are even more panicked if that's even possible and you have more answers that say different things than you even thought possible.
So now what do you do? Well if you read these blogs, you know my answer is always to consult legal counsel. But let's be realistic. That is probably not top of mind int he moment for you.
I will use an example I just came across in a group I am in. A legal decision was just handed down that interpreted an area of the law that people did not know existed or that it would be interpreted in a certain way. It essentially requires extra steps to provide a service or requires licensing. If the license or the extra steps are not complied with, the action is prohibited.
The concern now becomes does this apply to me and what trouble am I in if it does and I didn't know it. The reality is that every state has rules for just about everything. Some are obvious...don't practice law without a license (good one) and some are more obscure.....don't give meal plans to fitness clients without being a licensed dietician(what?!?)
So you plug in your search to google or ask on Facebook and you get a million hits. Now what...for your own immediate peace of mind, try to weed out the things that don't really apply. The items that are clearly click bait, the people who know a guy and the ones trying to sell you a quick fix to solve all your problems. Try to find information that comes directly from your state, your licensing body, or the federal government. If it is a rule or requirement I promise there is information from one of these official entities that will give you the information that you need.
When you get the information from one of these entities, go through it and take an initial cursory read. Does it make sense to you....great, follow the directions and see how it applies to you. If it does not make sense to you, break it down and get into the parts of the requirements. Typically you will see definitions of the terms you're looking at, they will directly relate to the section of the law. You will see what the intent was for enacting the law or requirement and you will see who it applies to. It will also tell you specifically what you need to do to comply. If it is still unclear after you've put a little legwork into it, then it is time to consult with counsel who can interpret it for you.
No information is also telling. If you go to one of these governing bodies and the information that you are searching for does not exist, it is likely that your concern is not supported by the law. For instance, do you need a license to perform the work you are doing? Lawyer...yes, personal trainer, no unless you're in Washington DC. That's a basic example. Once you have the answer to where the information exists, you can also take that basic answer and expand on it. For example, you don't need license to be a personal trainer, but there are state regulations for services you can perform without a license and how you have to run your business. That's what you need to take a look at and get further information from an attorney about.
Remember it is not the answer that is important, it is the question. And also value the source. Ingram Law Firm is here for all of your complex legal questions relating to your business. Give us a call today.