We appreciate that as a new business, your primary focus will be turning your business idea into a reality quickly and smoothly. Our specialist and approachable team provides a comprehensive range of legal services, ensuring your business can tackle any challenge. Whether you want to futureproof for growth, or simply get your business underway, we provide tailored commercial advice for your specific goals and circumstances at competitive rates.
Corporate & Commercial law
How you choose to structure your business at the outset is key as this will impact what level of personal risk you take on, your access to funding from commercial lenders, and the tax efficiency of your business. We can help you decide whether setting up as a sole trader, private limited company or limited liability partnership is best suited to your business and its long-term aims.
We hope your new business will go from strength to strength, and early action ensures that:
- All of the business’ shareholders or partners are pulling in the same direction from the outset, and are clear on what rights and protections they have; and
- Customers and suppliers know on what basis they are dealing with the business.
Having clear commercial documents in place minimises the risk of disputes as each person knows what they can expect from the business. The reality is that once an issue arises, it is already too late! Some things to consider include:
- Do you have a contract, or a standard set of terms and conditions, to protect your business when dealing with customers and suppliers? These ensure others know the terms they are engaging you under. Importantly, they can also limit your business’ liability. Additional obligations will also apply if your business deals with consumers.
- Additional obligations will also apply if your business deals with consumers.
- Do you store personal data? You have obligations under the UK GDPR.
- Do you co-own your business with others? You may wish to consider a shareholders’ or partnership agreement.
- Do you want specific rules to apply to the management and running of your company? You may want to consider a bespoke set of articles of association.
- Are you going to be disclosing confidential information about your business to a third party? A non-disclosure agreement can protect your business.
As your business grows, you might look at taking on some staff to help you. This could be a friend or partner, or involve you hiring other individuals. Staff are often a fundamental part of a business, so it is important that you understand your legal duties as an employer, to ensure that your business is protected and that you are getting the most out of the people you engage.
As a potential new employer, there are lots of things to consider:
- Are your staff to be employees? Consultants? Apprentices? Casual or zero hours workers?
- Should you engage staff for a temporary period only, or on a more permanent basis?
- How should you go about advertising for staff and making offers of employment? What checks should you undertaking before making them an offer?
- What terms should you offer your staff – how much will you pay them? Where will they work? For employees and workers, how much holiday will you give them?
- What documentation do you need in place?
- How do you part ways with staff if the relationship doesn’t work out?
It is a legal requirement for you to have a contract in place with employees. We can help you with preparing any contractual documentation. We can also be on hand to assist with any matters which arise as a result of employing staff, including disciplinary, grievance, performance and absences matters, and dismissal or termination.
If your business will be taking on commercial premises, it is crucial that you understand and are able to meet your obligations as a tenant. Commercial leases are generally prepared from the landlord’s perspective and, if not negotiated, may impose excessive obligations on the tenant which don’t align with the commercial realities of your business.
It is important that legal advice is sought at an early stage and that the right questions are asked to get your business up and running as efficiently and simply as possible. In particular:
- Can the landlord increase the rent? Is this subject to any cap?
- Will you find yourself paying increasing service charges?
- Will you be responsible for improving or maintaining the condition of the property?
- Does the lease provide an adequate ‘exit strategy’ if your business does not do as well as hoped?
- Are there any restrictions on the hours you can trade from the property or the activities you can carry out there?
- Will you need a licence from the Local Authority to operate from the premises?
Our Start-up and Small Business Team can assist with any of the above areas. To discuss any of the above with our friendly team, please contact Coco Yung in the first instance on 01603 281153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.