Coming up with an idea is only just the start for those venturing into new business. Turning that idea into trading reality involves time, energy, commitment and, more often than not, investment. But in your rush to get started, have you stopped to ensure that your business is legally sound?
Our quick guide for new businesses highlights some of the key areas which should be considered at the outset:
What structure will your new business take? Will you be a sole trader, limited company or partnership? Each option has its own merits and limitations around administration, costs, responsibilities, tax and accounting. You should seek specialist advice on which option is best for you.
From where will the business operate? Will premises be taken under formal lease, licence or outright purchase? A lease is often the most sensible option for new businesses as it avoids excess initial cash outlay and permits flexibility where the premises prove unsuitable or growth leads to a need to relocate.
How will the business operate? Sound people management is key to success. Employment contracts for staff should be put in place and key benefits arranged at the outset to secure the loyalty of your team.
What will your business be called? A business name is often key to its success, branding, image and reputation and there are a number of rules and regulations to be aware of. It is important to ensure you get it right (and protect it) at the start.
Is your business properly protected to secure the value of your product and brand? Protection can take various forms such as:
Intellectual property rights (trademarks, copyrights and patents) to protect products, inventions, processes and brand names
Contracts (terms and conditions, partnering and supplier arrangements, website policies) to ensure you stay on the right side of trading laws
Insurances required by law (employers liability, motor and industry specific policies) as well as others taken as a matter of good business (business asset protection)
Have you considered your tax liabilities? Professional advice from an accountant will ensure your tax obligations are met and the business is properly registered for VAT, corporation tax and other employee related taxes as appropriate.
How will the business be funded? For external finance you will need to produce a business plan and approach a number of banks to discuss your business needs. The overall finance package will often involve both personal and corporate security and it will be important to weigh up the options available.
The Corporate Commercial team understand the stresses, strains and competing demands in setting up your business. We are here to help manage the legal process, freeing you up to focus on the success of your new venture.