Protect your online business with the proper legal documents

Nothing will get you on the grind  more than, having your assets seized, or your business shut down by a government agency because you failed to take a few simple precautions in your business.

Here is what you need to do now to protect you and your business…

It’s not hype that if you run afoul of certain government agencies they can sue, seize your assets, and levy huge fines.

And you don’t have be doing something particularly “sleazy” or outwardly criminal.

The “Joe Surgarman incident” is a good, and famous, example. Joe violated the FTCs “30 day rule” ~ which says you must ship a mail order product within 30 days of ordering ~ because of multiple snowstorms that resulted in a computer failure.

Despite the “Act of God” excuse, the FTC swooped in, applied heavy fines, and Sugarman would spend the next 6 years fighting the FTC before coming to a settlement.

Now Joe Sugarman was already in the FTC’s gun-sites at the time, so they took their shot when they could. Most off the grinders, however, are unlikely to engage in activities that would make them a lighting rod for government enforcement… Off The Grind Business Rule #1 is to stay reasonably small ~ “under the radar” ~ and out of heavily-regulated industries. Trusting your “gut” by staying out of businesses and business activities that don’t “feel right” will go a long way to keeping you off the regulatory grind.

That said, if you have a web site, or plan on having one, there are some legal issues that you need to be concerned with. Specifically, your “Privacy Policy” and your “Terms of Service” which should be disclosed in documents on your site.

Privacy and security is a forefront issue. Be aware that there are laws that regulate what you must disclose about how you handle visitor’s information. This needs to be in your privacy policy, and in addition to your privacy policies, there are statements you should make about FTC and COPPA compliance, disclaimers of liability, and much more. Not having these documents leaves you legally vulnerable, and from a marketing perspective, can negatively affect your search engine rankings and make you look “unprofessional.”

Of course the big problem with this “legal stuff” for the small off-the-grind business owner  ~ and why many small web site owners ignore this issue ~ is that paying a lawyer to create these documents and keep them updated is absurdly expensive.

You can, of course, try to create your own legal documents from someone else’s examples and then keep one eye on the legal frontier for changes, but you risk violating copyrights and not getting the job done in a proper legal-speaking way.

There is a better way to get the job done…

Legal Document Service for your Web Site

In the past, I have used a handy service that created “lawyer approved” documents that I cut and paste into my web sites.

That worked well except for two problems.

One is updates. The laws are constantly changing and the service I’ve been using hasn’t been updated in a while.

The other problem is, every time there’s a change, I have to cut and paste the new documents into my web sites individually… a pain even with one site and a big job if you have many, which we do.

So I was very glad to have found a service ~ provided by a former federal judge ~ that automatically creates the documents I need and then keeps them updated ~ dynamically ~ as necessary.

Here’s how it works…

First, you set up your documents for each domain in the service’s online control panel.

This is quick and easy and the instructions are clear.

Then, for WordPress sites, all you need to do is install a plug-in they provide. You’re done. Links to your legal documents will appear at the bottom of your site and will update automatically.

For other types of sites, there’s an extra step or two, but the service is still easy to install, ~ and either way ~ you’ll have a lawyer and former judge working for you who will keep your legal pages updated when needed with no further intervention on your part.

Check it out if you have a web site or plan on having one …it’s inexpensive insurance for staying off the legal and regulatory grind. I’m using it on all my sites (and just an FYI, this is very reasonably priced at the time of this post, but they keep raising the cost, so if you are interested, the sooner you lock in “the deal,” the better).

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