When you make the decision to set up your own business it can be an exciting yet challenging time. You will save a lot of time, not to mention avoid a number of legal pitfalls, if you acquire a basic understanding of business law beforehand.
When you start a business you very often face huge challenges. Although most tasks should run smoothly you can do your best to avoid any problems by being prepared. Consulting a solicitor who has expertise in business law ensures that you are more likely to be prepared for any issues that arise or avoid them altogether.
Business law essentials
Solicitors will guide you through a list of all the common problems that new businesses might face. They can help with one of the fundamental issues: finding the right premises. They can help with leasehold issues and advise on health and safety law to ensure that you are unlikely to require accident injury solicitors as you take on more staff.
You will also need to think about how you are going to structure your business and a solicitor is invaluable when it comes to this. He can advise on whether you should trade as a company or through your own name. If you are going into a new business with other partners, the solicitor can help you understand your legal rights. He can also advise on partnerships and shareholder agreements and whether you will be a partnership, limited company or limited liability partnership. Legal help is an important aspect of setting up a new business, especially if other people are involved.
Business law is also crucial when it comes to what sources of finance are available and what the implications are (e.g., if you mortgage your family home to raise capital). You need to know that you are getting the best possible terms from your lender and a solicitor can advise and even negotiate on your behalf. Tax is another issue that solicitors can advise on if they have business law experience and they can also advise on when it would be best to start your financial year. The issue of cash flow is obviously crucial for your business and you need to think about protecting yourself from any bad debts by ensuring you use the correct terms of trading and take advice from your solicitor on effective debt collection.
You can seek legal advice on how to protect your ideas and designs, from products to your own branding. A solicitor can advise on the best way to keep your original ideas, products and brand safe from competitors.
A solicitor can provide information on insurance, which is critical if you want to cover the risk of running a business (your premises, employees, products, visitors, etc.). Independent legal advice is important in business, but proprietors still need to understand the risks; for example, if an employee is injured at work on your premises and he decides to make a claim through accident injury solicitors, insurance may prove invaluable. Naturally it is best to ensure that your business has minimised all risks, but you need to be insured to cover any eventuality.
Julia Davis is an experienced legal writer. Her main area of interest is company law.