Setting up your own business is no mean feat. With umpteen considerations to take into account before your bright idea gets off the ground, where on earth do you start? Probably one of the most confusing, not to mention daunting, areas that you must contemplate are the legalities behind a new start-up.
You will undoubtedly have countless questions running through your head: What do I need to consider to protect my new company? What can I put in place? How do I make sure I’m not going to be sued if I accidently copy someone’s design? Where will my business live? Can I set up my company to be more financial efficient?
Starting up your own enterprise is extremely demanding. With the correct professional advice and guidance along the way however, it can be made a whole lot easier, more efficient and in the end more cost-effective. A little planned expenditure at the beginning of your start-up to help get your legal affairs in order can be a drop in the ocean compared to the costs of sorting a mess out.
Five basic considerations when setting up a business:
- Company structure
If you are going into business with other people, a wise decision would be to have a shareholders’ agreement (for a limited company) or a partnership agreement drafted. This ensures that your financial or non-financial investment is made crystal clear and that the co-partner/co-shareholder know exactly how the relationship is going to be governed from the outset; this makes things so much easier for all parties going forward.
For each of the different company structures, the tax and legal requirements vary, so it is best to get the advice that’s going to help your own personal circumstances and future plans.
- Intellectual Property
A top tip is to make sure your contracts state that you, and you alone, own the IP for anything that any other agency or designer creates on your behalf.
- Terms of Business
Why? Trading to consumers can be a complex legal setting anyway, but the CRA 2015 has been slimmed down and reorganised which has made it easier for consumers not only to know their rights but to contest bad business practice too. As a business owner therefore, you need to be fully aware of all your obligations.
Even if you are a B2B trading firm your terms of business are a vital part of your business. Doing this correctly will limit potential exposure to regulations and protect your company’s position.
- Business premises
- Networking & communication
Communication also needs to utilised internally; this is imperative. It’s amazing how often business owners neglect to speak to their partner or other shareholders.
By Gemma Lingard, corporate law solicitor at Gorvins Solicitors