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    Hey, savvy business owner! As we step into a brand-new year filled with possibilities, it's time to give your business the legal TLC it deserves.

    Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, staying on top of legal matters ensures you're protected, compliant, and ready to conquer whatever legal challenge comes your way.

    But listen, I get it, legal jargon can feel like a foreign language, and the mere thought of navigating the legal landscape makes you want to ignore it altogether!

    That's why I'm going to ditch the legalese and get straight to the point with a checklist to get you started in 2024 that you can refer to throughout the year.✨

    1. Review and Update Contracts:

    Take a look at your existing contracts with clients, suppliers, and partners. Make sure they're up-to-date and reflect any changes in your business or the law. And if you do not have contracts, get on that! We're not operating in 2024 without solid legal protection.

    2. Intellectual Property Check:

    Review your intellectual property assets (website, images, videos, customer lists, company data, etc.). Where needed, put trademarks and copyrights in place to protect your digital assets. And don't forget to update that copyright symbol to 2024!

    3. Insurance Coverage Review:

    Review your business insurance coverage. You want it to protect your biz against risks if you are sued or targeted with a claim. Listen, things happen when you least expect and just like car insurance, you'll want business insurance to cover you for unexpected incidents. 

    4. Website Terms of Service and Privacy Policy:

    If you haven't already, get website terms on your business website! No ifs, ands or buts about it, these policies are necessary to protect your business. They inform your website users about how their data is collected, used, and protected. They also limit YOUR liability. It's a no-brainer to add these terms to your site.

    5. GDPR Check:

    Do you target customers in the EU? If your online business serves customers in the European Union, get compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Review data processing practices and update procedures to protect user privacy.

    6. Cookie Policy:

    If your website uses cookies, update your Cookie Policy to comply with regulations. Clearly inform users about the types of cookies used and obtain their consent if necessary. Yes, join the other sites with those annoying pop ups we all click to get rid of as soon as we land on the page.

    7. E-commerce Regulations:

    Sell products online? Make sure you website is is compliant with consumer protection laws, such as providing clear product descriptions, pricing information, and refund policies.

    8. Digital Marketing:

    There's more to online marketing than just sending emails. You have to do so in a compliant way. Be sure that your online marketing, including email marketing and online advertising, comply with anti-spam laws and regulations. Obtain consent before sending promo emails and allow subscribers to easily opt out when they want to.

    9. Digital Accessibility:

    Check your website's accessibility for individuals with disabilities. It must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to provide equal access to all users. Your website template may already be designed for this, but it's important to check the requirements for both desktop and mobile accessibility.

    10. Affiliate Marketing Compliance:

    If you engage in affiliate marketing, clearly disclose affiliate relationships and ensure transparency in your marketing efforts. None of us like to be sold to secretly. Be open with your consumers and let them know when they are viewing an ad.

    11. Cybersecurity and Data Breach:

    While this isn't the biggest to do on a small business owner's checklist, it is important to be aware of cybersecurity risks and data breaches. Protect customer data by following your privacy policy and check with your third party providers (customer service, email providers, fulfillment, etc.) to make sure they also comply with data privacy laws.

    12. State Annual Reporting:

    If you're a state registered LLC or Corporation, check with your Secretary of State to see if your entity is up-to-date with annual fees and reporting. Most states require yearly reporting (around the anniversary date of your entity's formation) where you pay a fee and update them on any changes to your business (such as a new address or change in owners).

    And there you have it, a quick checklist to work on and get you started in the New Year. Note, this list isn't an all inclusive list nor specific to any business but it is meant to give you a general idea of what may be needed for your business.

    So get started! And if you need help with more legal information for the do-it-yourself entrepreneur, watch my legal workshop.

    This blog posting is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not provided for specific, individual legal advice.