Setting up a business should be an exciting process. Without the right advice, however, it can also be a minefield, particularly where legal issues are concerned. Too often, it is not until matters reach crisis point that people turn to a solicitor for help. Resolving the problem at this late stage is usually far more costly than preventing the problem arising in the first place.
Things to think about:
The structure of your business will be vital to its success as you start up and expand. Should you trade in your own name or through a company, for example? If you are going into business with others, you need to make sure you get a fair return for your effort, so you might need a shareholders' agreement or partnership arrangement. We can draw up these agreements and also advise on the various different options for company structure ‒ partnership, limited company or limited liability partnership.
You may also want to consider possible sources of finance and, in that case, you need to understand what the legal implications are. Should you mortgage the family home? Are lenders insisting on unfair terms? Could you be getting a better deal with your bank? SMR Solicitors can advise on all these areas.
Your business may expose you to any number of risks relating to premises, employees, assets and visitors. What if your products or workers injure someone, for example? What if someone is injured while working for you? Are you legally responsible for an employee who misuses the internet? SMR Solicitors can give you advice on the risks you may need to insure against.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. SMR Solicitors can help protect you against bad debts by making sure you use the right terms of trading. We can also give advice on debt collecting and even collect debts on your behalf.
Goods and services
When buying or selling goods and services, it is important to know your legal duties. What contract terms does the law lay down? What about product liability? What can you legally say in adverts and promotional materials? We can cover all these points in detail and, if necessary, refer you to a specialist.
Disagreements and problems
In business, it is usually best to plan for all eventualities. What if you fall out with a partner or fellow shareholder; can you be forced out? How do you make sure that responsibilities and profits are divided fairly? What will happen to your business if you fall sick or die; will your husband, wife, partner or home be properly protected? SMR Solicitors can provide expert advice on all these issues.