Legal Advice For New Businesses During The First 100 Days
Disclaimer: We understand that everyone’s situation is different. That being said, this is a basic guideline for those seeking legal advice for new businesses during the first 100 days of operation.
Starting a new business is as much exciting as it can be terrifying. The first few weeks and months of your new commercial venture can be tricky to navigate with negotiating the financial arrangements, handling company operations and logistics, and understanding the legal implications of the business. While most new business owners tend to lack the requisite funding to secure legal advice from the major firms, getting the right legal structures in place for a business to thrive and avoid future risks is imperative.
Prioritising the legal parameters can be a trial for many businesses but there are a number of key points to consider for a business to hit the ground running. Consider this quintessential legal advice for new businesses.
Days 1 -30
So you’ve decided to start your own business; great! But what does starting a business actually involve? Businesses come into being by a process called “incorporation”.
Incorporation And Registration
The United Kingdom has its own national registrar of companies called Companies House. This is where all forms and documents to create a business originate. Startup founders must consider the most commercially viable structure for their business. The type of business you are creating will determine the specific forms required for you to incorporate.
Once the paperwork has been submitted to Companies House, it is time to produce a Shareholders Agreement. This is a vital document as it will detail matters ranging from the ownership of shares to what happens in the case of future internal conflict. The Shareholders Agreement will spell out how many shares each owner holds, any share vesting terms, and any decision-making and deadlock provisions. These steps are the first of many important decisions regarding the direction of your new business.
Days 31 – 60
There are four types of intellectual property protection. First, determine if your business has a patentable product. Second, trademarking your brand logo, name, or catchphrase can protect your image. Third, copyright applies to any original content you create. Finally, design rights protect the shape of the objects you create. In protecting your intellectual property, you may want to register for patents, trademark your name and logo, and sign a Copyright Assignment Agreement.
Terms And Conditions
Terms and Conditions are put in place to protect a business and its customers. It will guide interactions and serve as a contract. It is important for all parties to have access to the terms and conditions should conflict arise. The document should include: how the business works, what its goods and services are, sales and return policies, pricing and payment methods. Clear and specific provisions will aid as references when conflicts arise between businesses and customers.
If your new business has a website as well, there are further legal obligations to be met.
Website Terms And Conditions
Days 61 – 100
Once the foundations have been firmly set, you may be in a position to expand and think about your workforce. For this, you will need employment contracts.
Contracts between you and your employees will detail everything from job title/description, salary, holidays, and notice periods, in addition to any other relevant information based on your company and its needs. The Employment Agreement protects both the employee and the employer as it makes everybody aware of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
Consultancy Agreements are for consultants and contractors utilised by the company. When seeking certain goods or services beyond those that can be done in-house, Consultancy Agreements are used for the benefit of both parties. The duties of the consultant, fees, timeline, and liability information should all be included in this document, along with any other information specific to the company or work being performed.
When hiring a staff, it’s important that employees share the values of the employer and the company. These values should be reflected in the Staff Handbook, along with expectations to be met, and other information such as employee benefits, leave policies, and disciplinary procedures.
By creating employment contracts, you will be protecting yourself and your employees moving forward in expanding your new business.
The Next 100 Days And Beyond
At this point, you have rooted your business on firm ground by providing it with all the relevant legal safeguards! On completion of these essential steps in the first 100 days, you can look to your commercial future with confidence and peace of mind.
If you need any other legal advice for your new business or startup, please contact us directly!