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Lawsuits, for better or worse, are a fact of business life. And just because a business is small doesn't mean it can't or won't get sued. When small businesses get sued, other small business owners take notice and try and learn from the lawsuit, because there are lessons everywhere you look.

Here are five of the biggest small business lawsuits in the news recently, and the lessons other small business owners can take away:

Contract Advice for the Self-Employed

If you are self-employed you've probably already discovered that there is a lot to do and you could use some help with basic contract issues. Maybe sometimes you imagine that if you had a legal team, everything would be easier.

That might be true. But there are quite a few things you can do on your own -- and times when it is right to decide not to do much. Knowing the difference will make your working life easier. Here are a few tips on what problems to handle, how to handle them, and how to figure out when a problem is too big to handle independently.

Tips to Keep Personal and Business Finances Separate

Having a small business is great because it lets you be the boss. But being the boss means having more responsibility and there are a lot of things you must decide when you are in charge. One of the most important is a method for financial management.

As much as your business may feel like your whole life, you do need to separate your personal finances from those of the business and keep the boundaries strict. The first step to financial health in both of these aspects of your existence, business and personal life, is not mixing. Let's look at the ABCs of keeping your business organized.

Let's face it, when you were getting your company started, you probably weren't thinking about how your days with it would end. And even some serial entrepreneurs haven't perfected their exit strategies. In some cases, it can be hard to say goodbye to the business you built; in other cases, it seems impossible to extricate yourself from your partners.

Either way, having an exit strategy can not only help your leave your small business efficiently and on good terms, it can ensure your business keeps going after you're on to the next thing.

Can New Laws Block Biz Expansion Plans?

You do a great business in your home state and are considering expanding to neighboring locations. But beware. Your business expansion plans can be thwarted with new legislation and prospective competitors might work very hard to guard their territory, lobbying lawmakers to keep your business out.

That is what happened to Chicago's Binny Beverage Depot. The Illinois liquor chain planned to expand to Indiana, where its competitors were "fat, happy and lazy," according to company CEO Michael Binstein. But it won't be moving as soon as expected, reports The Chicago Tribune, because a new Indiana law just passed requiring more of local liquor store owners.

Does Your Small Biz Need an Ethics Policy?

You like to think of yourself as a good person and hope that your business will contribute positively to your community and the world. But having a feeling and having an ethics policy are two different things -- a policy makes abstract notions concrete, serving as a guide for you and your employees.

Your business code of ethics can be a moral compass for the whole operation. But coming up with an ethics policy can be a little daunting, so let's consider some general principles, as outlined by Kabbage, a small business finance site.

3 Tips on Business Breakups

You know how to handle a romantic breakup -- eat or shop or run it off, give it time, try not to text your ex. But what do you do when your business relationship is ending? Better yet, how can you prepare in advance?

There is actually a lot you can do to ensure that you handle the dissolution of a business partnership with grace. It starts with the beginning of the relationship. Here are five pointers, inspired by advice to entrepreneurs from small business lawyers in YFS Magazine.

How State Law Changes Can Have a Big Impact on Your Business

You may not consider yourself political, preferring business development to legal developments in your state. Still, you can't ignore the law. It changes all the time and it impacts the climate in which you operate, as entrepreneurs and business owners in North Carolina can tell you first hand.

Last week, that state passed HB2, a law that many nationwide have deemed discriminatory against the LGBT community. Companies warned Governor McCrory that passage of the law would cause them to reconsider doing business in North Carolina. Now the state is starting to pay the price for ignoring them, according to NBC News.

Buying a Biz: Lessons From Alaska Air Group and Virgin America

This week, Alaska Airlines announced that it would purchase Virgin America for $2.6 billion, which has you thinking: Is this a good way to grow a business?

You'd like to expand your operation and are considering an acquisition but you're not sure how to approach it ... or even if that is such a good idea. So, let's consider buying an existing business in light of the big deal announced this week.

Business Tips: Preventing Slips, Falls, and Lawsuits

When you go into business, you think a lot about risks and return on investment, but have you seriously considered personal injury? Whether or not you are ever sued, you are strongly advised to prepare for the worst.

Of course you cannot guarantee that you will prevent all injuries, and as a result suits from injured customers. But you can put in place some policies that will minimize the likelihood of a lawsuit. Let's take a look at why businesses get sued for personal injury commonly, and what you can do in advance to try to prevent a suit.