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Today my main focus is sharing why you need to have certain online legals on your website for it to be smart for your business, and to be smart for your branding.

A big part of having a website is that it is the face of your business. We often find that during startup and in the first few years of the development of our business,  we are building a brand and an identity.

Part of having a brand identity and a professional presence online is to have your legal documents in place (our terms and conditions, your policies, etc.) to complete your professional online presence.

When you have a business that’s online – and that’s most businesses now – you have a website.  On that website, you require a number of documents or policies that will build authority around your brand, and also protect and enable you to do business seamlessly.

So how do your website r online legals add to your branding?  Well, they add credibility.

Not having website Terms of Use and a Privacy Policy is simply is a gaping hole in in the professionalism of your business.  This creates a lack of credibility.

There have been many recent changes to international privacy regulations which affect how you and your business show up online and the information that you collect from people.  So your Privacy Policy is now a critical legal document that you need in your business.

Your website Terms of Use will cover the interaction you have with your visitors to your website. It is not your business terms and conditions. It is not your client agreement. It is not your cancellation and refund policy. It is simply a statement that educates people about what they can and cannot do on your website.

It is also the document that protects your content and protects you, or provides a disclaimer in the event something goes wrong with your website.  It also provides disclaimers about the type of information that people access on your website, and that depends on your business.

You don’t want visitors to be taking information that you provide on your website as personal advice in areas of Finance, Legal, Medicine, Health, or in any of those areas where general information could be mistaken for personal advice. So the website Terms of Use is very specific to the operations of your website.

Your policies are not to be included under a heading on your website that says Online Legals – that’s no longer acceptable. You need to have a separate heading for website Terms of Use, and a separate heading for Privacy Policy. It needs to be in a decent font size on your website so people know and can see where they can access the other policies.

Your website Terms of Use is read in conjunction with your Privacy Policy, which needs to be GDPR compliant, and it needs to be customized to the type of information that you are collecting and type of business you are running.  So if you are conducting business that collects census, that deals with sense of sensitive information, that is something that needs to be addressed in the Privacy Policy.

You also need to state a number of legal reasons why you are collecting the information that you are collecting. These are  certain aspects of Privacy Policy inclusions that were not required in the previous Privacy Policies that lawyers were drafting.

So those are the first two Online Legals that I want to talk to you about – your website Terms of Use and your website Privacy Policy.

The third document is actually a document that I haven’t talked about much before, and that is a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

This is a very important document for you to start using in your business, especially when you are moving from startup into a more established phase of your business. When you are discussing developments in your business with other providers to help you to get things done in your business, you need to protect your information.

We talk about a lot of legals in small business, but rarely do we talk about the Non-Disclosure Agreement. It doesn’t have to be a long, complex document.

What it does do is put the other person on notice. So if you’re thinking of engaging a contractor, someone to look at the systems in your business, or to be your assistant, you are going to be sharing information about your business which is your trade secret, if you will.

These are your plans for your business. Your hopes and aspirations. These are your designs, your concepts, your ideas, your philosophies, your plans for the future.  Without a nondisclosure agreement in place, people can just take your ideas and go anywhere.

But when there is a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place, you are putting them on notice and reminding them that the relationship you have, and the discussion of your business is confidential.

So I’m inviting you to consider these three documents as being critical to your business. There are other documents that are important, but I really believe if you have a business and a website, the first thing you need to look at – and look at closely with a view to having them developed for your business specifically – is your website Terms of Use, your GDPR-compliant Privacy Policy, and to have a Non-Disclosure Agreement drafted for the type of information you would like to protect about your business.

It’s very important that you don’t remain in start-up land where there are gaping  holes in your systems, policies, and processes.  Having your legals on your website is one of those gaps that you need to fill. 

I’m happy to talk to you about any of these documents I’ve spoken about today, feel free to book in a free 10 minute consult here to see if your business complies with the law.

Shalini x