There are lots of things you must think about when running an online business, from sales and marketing to record-keeping and paying your taxes. One area that often gets overlooked is safety and security. Just as you would with an offline brick and mortar business you need to protect yourself from any legal threats or issues that can occur at any time, and from any location in the world. There are always people that are opportunistic and that will wish to bring down your business, or at least tarnish your image, brand, and reputation.
So to ensure you don’t have to focus on damage control you need to protect your business as well as you can at all times. Start as you mean to go on. One of the top ways you can protect your online business is by using clear and concise terms and conditions.
Why Does Your Business Need Terms and Conditions
When you have users and visitors browsing your website and potentially buying products or services from you then you need to ensure that you lay out terms and conditions with regards to how your site and business can be used. Ensuring you have clear, easy-to-use, and easy-to-understand terms and conditions that cannot be misinterpreted ensures that there is no confusion where responsibilities lie and that your business is protected from any unnecessary or unfounded claims from anyone that visits or uses your website. If you do not have terms and conditions in place you are left open and vulnerable to potential misuse and resulting claims.
What Terms and Conditions Do You Need
You would ideally have terms related to copyright, and disclaimers concerning liability and ownership. Your terms and conditions must be relevant to your website, industry, and business. If you are handling users’ and visitors’ personal data and finances then you will want to make sure that your terms and conditions protect both them and your business. All terms and conditions must be professionally written, clean to interpret, and easy to understand. If there is any confusion with anything to do with your terms and conditions it could render them void and useless which leaves you exposed.
Can You Use Another Businesses Terms and Conditions
No, you cannot use other websites and businesses’ terms and conditions mainly because they are not going to be the same as yours, and also because you cannot steal someone’s content. Terms and conditions are highly personalized and relevant to a website and even if the website or offer is similar to yours it will not be the same. Investing time and effort into creating suitable and applicable terms and conditions for your business will not be time wasted.
What Happens If You Don’t Protect Your Business
If you do not set out your terms and conditions then your online business is exposed and potentially illegal. Visitors, users, trade bodies, and other professionals could launch claims against you, and you could have expensive lawsuits on your hands if you fail to protect your business. Terms and conditions cover everything from how you will handle refunds, to how you will ensure customers’ data is safe and secure. The importance of terms and conditions that are readily available and easy to find on your website should not be underestimated.
As terms and conditions are part of a legally binding agreement you must get them created and integrated within your business as soon as possible. Failing to get correct and accurate T & C’S drawn up could leave you valuable to threats that could compromise your business. If you do not protect visitors and users of your website and an incident occurs or happens, such as a security breach or data leak, then you will face a backlash from customers, you will face negative publicity, and you will potentially be stopped from running your business, and any future endeavors. The consequences are real and they are serious, so don’t hesitate.