Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Names, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Ethikately IP Newsletter, Events, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, News Alerts, Not for Profit, On the Blog, Partnership Law, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Considering outsourcing? Read this first…

by Kate Ritchie, Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney at Ethikate

As every business owner will eventually discover, there comes a point when the number of tasks to be completed outweighs the time available to do so.

No matter how organised and motivated you are, it is an inescapable fact that you are restricted by the number of workable hours in a day.
Spending two hours a day answering emails or one day a week preparing invoices for customers, may not be the best use of your time. So what’s the answer? Well, perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing some of your workload to other people.

Thanks to the internet and the rise in popularity of cloud-based workrooms and storage systems that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, almost any task can now be outsourced. There are plenty of highly experienced freelancers registered online at outsourcing platforms such as UpWork, who are willing to work for reasonable rates and take some of the more time-consuming jobs associated with business administration off your hands.

However, as with everything, there are both pros and cons, which must be considered before deciding which elements of your business are suitable for outsourcing.

Outsourcing vs. employing staff

Before you start planning an outsourcing strategy for your business, you should think carefully about what positions you need to fill, and what kinds of jobs are typically outsourced.

It is worth considering that generally, you will have more control over full-time employees than contractors and freelancers because they are committed primarily to you and your business. With freelancers, you could end up competing for their time with other clients.

The biggest issue with taking on employees is that they become a fixed cost to your business and you may not be able to fully utilise them on a full-time basis, whereas when you outsource you can manage your expenses in real time and adjust terms in line with your needs in a way you can’t with permanent employees.

If you are considering outsourcing for your business, you will also need to make sure your insurance covers it. Check your professional liability insurance policy to ensure that as well as employees, independent contractors are covered for any claims arising from business-related activities they perform on your behalf.

Here are some of the outsourcing pros and cons:

Pros

  • Reduced costs foreign labour can be cheaper than domestic labour, pay for hours worked, rather than a permanent employee contract
  • Globalise your business – working with freelancers based in different time zones will allow your business to operate outside of normal hours
  • International element: utilising freelancers from different countries or those with language skills can provide you with a greater reach and understanding for your business activities overseas
  • Access better technology and specialised expertise – no need to send employees to expensive training courses or purchase the latest software, when you can outsource specific jobs to experienced small companies and individuals

Cons

  • An employer/employee relationship where trust and loyalty is nurtured can be harder to achieve
  • When working with freelancers whose first language may not be English, it is easy for messages to get lost in translation. Also, there may be cultural differences you need take into consideration.
  • When it comes to technology and working online, sharing information with non-employees can pose security risks, so you should ensure you are fully covered legally with NDAs etc.

Outsourcing definitely has some advantages. However, you need to carefully consider all pros and cons before deciding if it is the right fit for your business.

About the Author:  Kate Ritchie is a strategically focused Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney with both commercial and business services and legal experience. Kate has broad ranging competency in all aspects of legal services including intellectual property law, brand protection, commercial and business transactions, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, internet law, privacy, competition and consumer law and sports law. Kate has worked with top-tier commercial law firms such as Clayton Utz and high profile companies such as Thiess Pty Ltd and Tatts Group. Kate founded Ethikate in 2014 with a passion for providing specialist advice and services in Intellectual Property Law, Trade Marks and Brand Protection Strategies, business and commercial law and entertainment and media law for startups, entrepreneurs and small to medium businesses.

Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Names, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Ethikately IP Newsletter, Events, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, News Alerts, Not for Profit, On the Blog, Partnership Law, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Ethikate on Sky News Business

Ethikate’s Principal Lawyer & Trade Marks Attorney Kate Ritchie was recently featured on Sky News Business.

Kate’s interview with Chloe James covered business success, the legal sector, “disruption for disruption’s sake”, startups and small businesses.

Check out the full interview below.

 

Business Law, Business Names, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Copyright, On the Blog, Uncategorised

Free Startup Checklist

Happy New Year!

Are you starting 2017 by launching a startup?

There is so much to think about when starting a new business, including business structure, business names, trade marks, tax obligations and more.

Great news! Ethikate has compiled a handy startup checklist for you! Simply register your interest in the new online legal resource, The EK Lab and get your free checklist delivered straight to your inbox.

Register your interest in the EK Lab and receive your free startup checklist here.

Business Law, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Internet and ecommerce, On the Blog, Partnership Law

Beware the Fine Print in Generic Legal Documents

Businesswomen Creative Inspiration Occupation Concept

 

By Kate Ritchie, Ethikate Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney

It is becoming increasingly common for Australian business owners to turn to the Internet when seeking legal information.

Falsely believing that legal documents are ‘standard’ and lured by lower prices and the immediacy of information, founders are unknowingly investing in extraneous documentation that is putting their business at risk.

Though generic, downloadable documents may appear to be a convenient and economical alternative to traditional legal advice, they are potentially harmful to businesses. Generic legal documentation may not be tailored to address a company’s specific needs and leaves business owners unaware of their liabilities and therefore open to possible litigation.

As the legalese in these documents can be difficult to decipher, it is not uncommon for information to be misunderstood and irrelevant material mistakenly selected by business owners. Use of contracts that fall under the wrong jurisdiction is a common problem. For example, a Melbourne based business using contracts and agreements with terms governed by the state of California. This makes it apparent that the information has been obtained from an unreliable source and leaves the company completely unprotected.  Another error often made is the publication and use of policies that the business may not legally require, such as a privacy policy. It’s risky, as the business is unknowingly accepting unnecessary responsibilities and may be making false statements.

Simple and avoidable mistakes made due to misunderstanding information can create a myriad of issues for businesses from both a legal and reputational standpoint. These oversights undermine a company’s credibility and will not go unnoticed by sophisticated clients, irreparably damaging the positive reputation business owners work tirelessly to build.  Additionally, costly litigation that may arise due to false claims or copyright infringements is financially and emotionally catastrophic and can destroy a business.

There is no one-size-fits-all legal documentation; every business requires tailored contracts and policies.  Savvy business owners need comprehensive advice and documentation to enable them to mitigate these risks from the outset and protect their two most valuable assets; their intellectual property and their brand.

Ethikate offers a range of affordable packages specifically designed for startup founders and small businesses, including our $199 Initial Consult package. If you have any questions about small business law, including Intellectual Property, Trade Marks and Brand Protection, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

About the Author:  Kate Ritchie is a strategically focused Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney with both commercial and business services and legal experience. Kate has broad ranging competency in all aspects of legal services including intellectual property law, brand protection, commercial and business transactions, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, internet law, privacy, competition and consumer law and sports law. Kate has worked with top-tier commercial law firms such as Clayton Utz and high profile companies such as Thiess Pty Ltd and Tatts Group. Kate founded Ethikate in 2014 with a passion for providing specialist advice and services in Intellectual Property Law, Trade Marks and Brand Protection Strategies, business and commercial law and entertainment and media law for startups, entrepreneurs and small to medium businesses.

Brand Protection, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, On the Blog, Privacy, Social Media

Part 1: Why your business needs a social media presence

Social media strategy

 

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series on social media – why you need it, your legal obligations and how you can mitigate your risks.

 

It is undeniable that the internet and social media have become the dominant force that determines how we connect with other people, businesses and brands online. Social media is now a powerful, cost-effective medium that can be utilised to enhance your business reach and help you establish your brand in the global marketplace.

Over the next few weeks we’ll look at why your business needs a social media presence, how to get started with the basics, and how to optimise your social media strategy. As well as considering the opportunities social media holds for your business, we’ll also be looking at some of the risks it can pose and how you can best protect yourself against possible pitfalls.

How can social media help?

Authority

Nowadays, when purchasing goods or services many people will check out a businesses’ social media page and/or blog. By creating a strong online presence that reflects your core values you can add a sense of authority to your brand.

Creating and implementing a consistent, targeted social media strategy can instantly provide your business with a sense of authenticity and credibility. Writing blog posts, sharing important news, or holding discussions via your social media profile can set you apart as a knowledgeable, helpful voice in your sector. This in turn will give customers the confidence to actively seek out your goods or services rather than turning to one of your competitors.

Engagement

Social media is no longer restricted to certain groups and the majority of your customers probably use some form of it on a daily basis. By definition, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to be online and engaged instantly every single day of the year.

Capitalising on this cost-effective marketing tool can really boost your business and ensure that you are in direct contact with your customers. Social media allows you to post information, news and offers as they happen, helping you to create a strong connection with the people who matter to your business.

Interacting directly with people via a social media profile can also provide a much needed ‘human touch’ for your business, as well as creating a sense of familiarity and trust amongst current and potential customers.

Consolidation

As we’ve discussed previously, creating a strong brand is essential to the success of your business and what better way to consolidate your brand than through social media?

You can utilise the various platforms to relay your message as well as reinforcing your brand’s recognisability through the use of your logo, colour schemes and other visual aspects of your marketing materials. Social media is a great way of showing off your brand’s personality and establishing your business as a contemporary and accessible operation.

So, what next?

Social media is now an integral part of most people’s lives and as a business you should strive to optimise the way in which you use it to promote your brand. As we’ve discussed, your customers are now more accessible than they have ever been and the opportunities social media can give your business are extensive.

But, as with everything, there are risks involved with creating an online presence! Protecting your online intellectual property, as well as ensuring you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights or breaching any laws (such as Consumer, Defamation or Privacy laws) when publishing online content, is vital. It is also essential that your data and passwords are safeguarded from the threat of online attack or possible would-be infringers.

In Part 2 and 3, we’ll look at how to get started with social media, some of the practical issues you’ll need to deal with, how to minimise the risks we’ve mentioned, and how to ensure you are fully protected by the law.

Are you keen to boost your digital presence, but concerned about being vulnerable online? Want to learn more about creating and implementing a strong brand protection strategy that will safeguard your business online? Contact us at Ethikate today!