Business Start Up Checklist
Machins Solicitors regularly advise start-up businesses on the legal aspects of their new venture. Set out below is a basic checklist of the main points for you to consider and which we are usually asked to advise on:
Choose an appropriate business structure. The most common are:
- Sole trader – is when you operate under your own name and continue to have personal liability for the business.
- Partnership- this may arise under operation of law, when there are two or more persons acting together in business to make a profit.
- Private Limited Company- the company is a separate legal entity which can operate and enter into contracts in its own name. You will have limited liability as an owner/director (subject to certain exceptions).
- Protecting your business name or trading name, domain name and logo as a trade mark is sensible and we would urge you to seek professional advice from a trade mark attorney to avoid an expensive rebranding exercise later on.
- If you need premises for your business you should seek advice on your lease so that you fully understand your obligations.
- Be aware that you may not be able to operate a business from your residential home.
- There are various providers who can provide flexible arrangements for office and warehouse space and we may be able to assist you with finding an appropriate space for your business.
- You may not have any employees to begin with, but when you do, you need to issue them with written terms and conditions of employment.
- Have you recently left employment yourself? You should consider the terms of any post termination restrictions which were in your employment contract to avoid any potential legal action against you or your new business.
- If you are going to collect the names, addresses and other personal data of individuals then you will need to comply with the Data Protection Act. We can assist you with your processes and policies.
- Will you be trading with consumers or other businesses?
- Consumers have additional rights in sales contracts so you to need appropriate terms and conditions in place.
- If you are dealing with other businesses, are you aware on whose standard terms you will be contracting on? You need to ensure that you understand where your legal risks are and how to minimise them.
- Have you obtained quotes for business insurance? Your needs will depend on the nature of your business, but it is best to speak to a commercial insurance broker so that you can ensure you have the correct level of protection.
- If there are several “founders” to the business, you may need to consider “keyperson” insurance or shareholder protection insurance.
Did you know Machins Solicitors offer free 30 minute consultations on all areas of business law from 12-5pm on the first Thursday of the month at Regus, Breakspear Park in Hemel Hempstead? Please call 01582 514331 to make an appointment.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, please contact Sarah Liddiard, Solicitor, Machins Solicitors LLP 01582 514000 or [email protected]
This article first appeared in the Hemel Gazette Business Eye and was written for general information only and should not be relied on without specific advice