Making it as a business owner has never been easy, but in the modern day and age it’s easier than ever before for an aspiring startup or eager entrepreneur to encounter legal troubles that sink their commercial prospects. Rather than waiting to stumble into legal problems that could prove disastrous to your business, you need to take some extensive steps early on to guarantee that your company doesn’t go under the minute it has to endure some legal heat.

Here are 5 common legal problems that could sink your business or startup, and what you’ll want to know in order to mitigate the possibility of getting sued.

1. Not paying attention to international regulations

Far too often, small business owners are stressed out because they have to deal with a dizzying array of local and national regulations that can make it a real hassle to turn any sort of profit. These days, however, you must also go a step further and pay strict attention to international regulations which could have a drastic impact on your business. Most modern companies are interconnected to other businesses in one form or another, so even if you shun international business yourself the regulations being drafted around the globe could still disrupt your market.

US business owners should be aware of recent European regulations that could disrupt the commercial landscape between the two continents for years to come. Despite the fact that you already have to deal with local regulations, keeping an eye on the international rulebook is also an imperative part of succeeding as a modern business.

2. Not knowing how to find a good lawyer

Far too many entrepreneurs see their dreams come crashing down because they have little to no idea how to find a good lawyer in the event that a legal disaster occurs. Whether you want to admit it or not, every business encounters legal jeopardy sooner or later and will likely find it necessary to rely on the expert advice of a lawyer. If you hire a shoddy legal expert, however, your entire company could suffer as a consequence of their lackluster advice.

Knowing how to find a business attorney could be the difference between your company surviving a legal crisis and going under because you don’t know how to defend yourself.

3. Having bad netiquette

In the digital world, good netiquette is more important than ever. Knowing how to properly behave and represent yourself online is important not only for individuals, however, but also for companies and brands that use popular social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to prospective customers. While social media is a wondrous invention for connecting with other people and getting your message out, you also need to realize that having bad netiquette could generate a legal firestorm that rains down on your company.

Other small businesses have been shuttered in the past because of defamatory comments that the posted online, sometimes inadvertently. Be sure that you know about the importance of proper netiquette if you don’t want to suffer from a legal problem that could sink your business.

4. Forging contracts that lack transparency

Far too many small business owners have seen their commercial empire come crashing down around them because they forged an important business contract without emphasizing transparency and openness.

If you aren’t being clear with your business partners or insurance groups, there’s a strong chance that something is eventually going to go wrong, which could result in a disastrous lawsuit. To protect your company from potential legal trouble, take steps to guarantee that all of its important legal documents are clear-cut and easily understood by all important parties involved.

5. Not treating your employees properly

One of the most common reasons that new businesses go under outside of failing to turn a profit is that they fail to treat their employees properly, which results in a drought of good workers and a slew of lawsuits that could crater your financial wellbeing.

Treating your employees right isn’t only the right thing to do from the standpoint of a selfish legal actor, but it’s also the proper moral course of action, so don’t be surprised if you suffer from legal trouble when you try to cut corners on employee benefits, payment, and schedule flexibility.

Not only are happy workers less likely to sue the company, they’re also more likely to be productive and act as important brand ambassadors to the world. Your small business won’t do well if it suffers from a reputation of harming its workers, for instance, so this tactic will also help you survive commercially while you avoid legal problems that could sink your business.

As always, rely on the expert advice of a stellar lawyer whenever a real crisis arises, and soon you’ll be deftly navigating commercial waters with ease while steering clear of any legal trouble.