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Cleburne Legal Blog

5 questions to ask when creating a noncompete agreement

For various reasons, you may have decided that your company should utilize noncompete agreements when working to prevent your trade secrets or other important information from falling into the hands of your competitors. These agreements certainly have their uses, and if you believe that having such a contract could work toward protecting your company's best interests, it may prove wise to gain more information on these agreements.

In particular, you may want to focus on the enforceability of any contracts you create. Many business owners feel surprised to find out that their noncompete agreements do not meet enforceability requirements. As a result, they may not provide as much protection as hoped.

Are you ready to pass on the reins of your company?

Because you hold both your family and your business close, you certainly want to ensure that you take care of them. As a result, when you begin thinking about your retirement or possible demise, you will want to know that your family and company remain in good hands. Fortunately, business succession planning could prove useful in this respect.

When thinking about who you want to take over your business and how you want the company to continue to operate, you will likely have many aspects to consider. Wanting to keep the business within the family is understandable, especially if your children already work as part of the company. However, you still need to make sure your successor is the right fit for the job.

Lease terms can have a significant impact on your business

As a small business owner, you know how important it is to have appropriate space to run your business operations. Commercial real estate can be difficult to come by for small businesses in Texas, yet there are many things to consider when negotiating a lease. Lease agreements are serious, and the terms can have a significant impact on your operations and financial health.

If you think you found the perfect location for your company, it can be tempting to forge ahead and sign on the dotted line as quickly as possible. However, there are significant benefits to seeking guidance as you make important decisions, even allowing a legal ally to negotiate the commercial lease on your behalf.

Collecting debt the right way is good for business

As a small business owner, collecting money people owe you is a part of doing business. In many cases, people will simply pay what they owe without issue, but there are times you will have to deal with difficult customers who refuse to pay for services rendered or products received.

In cases in which there is a dispute over owed balances and collections, you may find it beneficial to seek a full understanding of how you can protect your rights as a business owner. You have the right to take appropriate measures to secure the money owed to you, but it is prudent to know what you can and cannot do as you undertake this effort. Many Texas business owners find it beneficial to seek legal guidance as they pursue a beneficial solution for collections disputes.

Have you considered creating a partnership agreement?

Starting a business in Texas can be an exciting endeavor. Perhaps you have had your idea for as long as you can remember, and now that the time has come to bring your business dreams into reality, you likely cannot wait to get started. Additionally, your future business partner or partners may also share in your enthusiasm and feel ready to get the ball rolling on your future success.

Though you and your partners may have known each other for years -- or perhaps even since childhood -- you may not want to move forward with creating a business partnership simply on the basis of friendship. Some form of legal understanding needs to exist in order for each person to know what to expect from the partnership as well as to keep each party accountable. Therefore, you may wish to consider creating a partnership agreement.

Mechanic's lien can be complex but effective

In your business, you can't take for granted timely payment. When you have employees, suppliers and you own bills to pay, waiting for a contractor or property owner to compensate you for the work you have finished can be frustrating and damaging to your business. You may know that you have the right to file a mechanic's lien if a customer doesn't pay within a certain amount of time. However, the process may seem complicated and time-consuming.

That's because it is. Nevertheless, a mechanic's lien may be your best advantage to getting payment that you deserve for the work you have done. While you may be able to access online services to attempt to file a lien, the complex nature of the process means you are taking risks with your company that you may not be able to afford.

Could your business benefit from a non-compete agreement?

Having a valued team can help any business successfully go through its daily operations and work to meet future goals. Of course, as the business owner, you want to ensure that any team members you have will protect important company information and not damage business operations should they choose to leave the company. Though this task may seem difficult, you may have the ability to create safeguards.

In particular, you may want to ensure that any business competitors cannot obtain business information from your company should a former employee of yours choose to work for a similar company. As a result, you may choose to create a non-compete agreement in hopes of protecting your company's best interests.

Make no dispute: Contract disagreements can hurt your bottom line

As a Texas business owner, you likely use contracts as an integral part of your overall business structure and regular transactions. From the signed agreements you may have with your employees to deals you set in writing with other companies, signing your name on the dotted line is probably quite familiar to you. Hopefully, you know enough about contracts to understand their importance in relation to your bottom line interests. Put another way, contracts gone bad can do a lot of damage to your business.

Therefore, like most savvy business owners, you do your best to make sure you clearly understand all terminology, obligations and responsibilities contained within a proposed agreement before you add your signature. Even then, problems may arise down the line that bring the validity of a certain deal into question. This is where a notary public can be a great asset.

Important HR needs in your business

As your business continues to grow and you hire more employees, you are likely finding yourself taking on more roles within the business, particularly the role of the human resources representative. Whether you hire someone for this position or manage the department yourself, much of what HR does is preventative, from the interview process through the completion of separation surveys.

It may seem overwhelming, but through HR proactivity, your employees know their rights and responsibilities, and you have clear guidelines within which to act. Therefore, it may benefit you to take a close look at your HR department to ensure there are no gaps or oversights that may come back to bite you in the event of a dispute or accusation.

What mediation can do for your small business

If you own and operate your small business for any length of time, you will more than likely end up in a dispute with another business, a vendor or a customer. In many cases, the dispute can be resolved with minimum fuss.

In other cases, however, the dispute seems to only grow and fester. You or the other party involved may begin talking about litigation as a way to resolve the issue. Fortunately, there is another option that could work out better for all of the parties involved: mediation.

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Cain & Associates
508 N Ridgeway Dr.
Cleburne, TX 76033

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