Keeping Your Business Legal

Whether you have an online business or an offline business, you must do certain things to set yourself up and operate legally. If you already have a business that you're taking online, this advice is probably old news to you. But if you're starting your online business from scratch, read on.

Admittedly, quite a few business-related laws exist. As an online business, you must comply with any government regulations specific to e-commerce, as determined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In addition to all federally imposed regulations, you are also subject to any applicable state, county, and city laws. If you are selling to companies or individuals outside the United States, you must also comply with International Trade Law. On its Web site, the SBA provides good information about business law and regulations, as shown in Figure 1-1. You can find this information under the resource page, called “Starting and managing a business,” when you visit


Figure 2-1: The SBA offers resources to help you better understand basic business law.

At first pass, these legal obligations can be a bit overwhelming. Like everything else in business, though, you take one step at a time and, before you know it, you have a handle on the situation. The same is true with the legalities of operating an online business. Start out on the right foot by getting up to ...

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