If you run a business, you’ll agree with me that location is key to getting customers to do business with you. Whether you opt for a brick and mortar business or an online store, there are legal factors every business owner must take into consideration when doing business on either platform. However, for today’s post, i’ll beam my “guide light” on online businesses who trade through a website.
In no particular order, below are what i call “must haves” for business owners with websites;
- A REGISTERED BUSINESS AND DOMAIN NAME.
Like every business, you need a name with which your clients can identify with your business products or services. Your domain name (for your website) and your business name must be unique to you alone, and cannot be similar with that of an existing online business with a website, as this may pose a great risk for your business.
If you conduct your online business in Nigeria, ensure your business is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. By doing this, your business stands a great chance of gaining confidence among your customers as well as other business organizations who may consider doing business with you.
For those of you who intend owning a business website in the future, i strongly recommend that you take adequate steps in having your domain name secured immediately after business registration, especially if you intend using your registered business name as your domain name.
Finally, ensure your policies are up to date as they may change from time to time.
The idea is to ensure that your users agree to the available terms before having access to your products or services online.
- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION.
The higher the level of online visibility, the more likely your website stands the risk of intellectual property theft. The last thing you need as an online business is your competition replicating your website contents online without your permission.
Your online contents could be protected through copyright registration. In addition, where you have a unique logo design or product name featured on your website as well as other visible materials, you may consider having it secured as a trademark to avoid the risk of such product name or logo design being stolen.
- CONSUMER PROTECTION COMPLIANCE.
The law protects the interests of consumers who purchase goods and services either online or offline. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 provides guidelines as to how goods and services are displayed and sold and every business owner must bear this in mind while transacting online.
Some these provisions are as follows;
- Your goods or services as a business brand, must meet the standard promised. That way, clients get value for their money.
- A business brand or undertaking must adequately display such goods or services to the consumer. In addition, such business shall not compel a consumer to pay an amount higher than the amount displayed.
- Sellers of goods or services must ensure the latter isn’t dangerous to the health of consumers. Hence you have a duty to test your products or services and include warning notices where necessary.
- Business brands are prohibited from providing misleading information through advertising, labeling and packaging.
- Where your goods are reconditioned or what we call “second hand” in nature, you must disclose such information to your customers prior to purchase.
Having a strong online presence enhances visibility for businesses, however you must ensure that your business website is legally protected and compliant to enable it thrive in the Nigerian market place. Do you have a business website, which of the lists above do you think your business website need?
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