Majority of the companies in the UK are small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has convinced many people to start a business online, selling different products and services. Significantly, most of these startup companies took the DIY approach in doing so. This practice has got the attention of the government and the legal community because a considerable number of them have faced legal battles as a result, which could have been avoided if they seek help from expert business lawyers.
Rather than doing it yourself, get a corporate solicitor to assist you in the most crucial legal aspects of your business that nobody will tell you.
#1: The Legal Structure
The legal structure in which your company operates directly impacts how much tax you pay to the government, individually and corporately. This also determines the tax reliefs and grants your business can qualify for, which is definitely a big help, especially that the pandemic is not yet over and there are current territorial conflicts that affect worldwide trade.
In choosing which setup, consider not only the savings you can get, money and time wise, but also what works best for all the stakeholders of your business, avoiding any conflict of interest. The most common legal structures are: sole proprietorship (or sole trader), partnership, private limited company, and limited liability partnership (LLP).
Let your trusted commercial solicitor assist you in selecting the best legal structure.
#2: The Trade Licence
The trade licences of businesses are very specific. There are rules governing each of them, locally and internationally, but the main goal of requiring such is to protect the owners, exemplify good business practice and of course, to safeguard the rights of customers or clients.
Generally, you can start a business in the UK without a trade licence. You just have to be self-employed with legal structure and register with the HMRC. However, there are dealings that require such. Childcare, selling alcohol, and events are some of the services that require a trade licence.
The type of trade licence depends on what industry you belong to and what services you provide. The different industries include: retail, food and beverage, home-based, accountants, health and beauty, and tradespeople. They all have different legal obligations based on their business licence.
Don’t presume your business doesn’t need one. Seek advice from a corporate solicitor to avoid fines, penalties, lawsuits, business closure and even arrest. Operating without the proper trade licence is illegal and very risky.
#3: The Property
Are you planning to rent or buy a building for your business? Or, you want to sell some company properties? Whichever decision you take, the most important thing is you get legal advice from a commercial solicitor with expertise in business and real estate.
From the negotiation to the preparation and signing of contracts and other pertinent documents, let your lawyer handle it all. Commercial property law is quite complex, but you can avoid the popular pitfalls through their help.
#4: The Workforce
Labour law in the country is extensive and evolving. What cannot be found today in the rules can be provided by future legislation. Just like tax laws, you have to keep yourself updated with labour laws. Otherwise, hefty penalties await. Issues concerning labour practices can also affect the reputation of your company or worst, closure.
The pandemic has paved the way to new work setup throughout the world that companies have gladly embraced. As such, the creation and updating of employment contracts, confidentiality agreements, health and safety policy, flexible working policy, data protection and security policy and the like became a necessity. These contracts represent your business. Thus, it has to be carefully crafted in accordance with the law.
Don’t just pull a ready-made contract online and fill up. Hire a business lawyer for all your contract needs.
#5: The Capital
As time goes by, growth opportunities for the business may present. However, most small businesses fail to take this opportunity and move their company into another level because of lack of capital.
Aside from taking advantage of the many funding options including loans, selling shares, crowdfunding, and grants, you can also implement ways to manage your business finances, so you can save and incur less debt.
Whatever approach you take to obtain growth capital, always talk to your company lawyer about it. You can never go wrong with heeding their advice on tax and legal advice.
Look for your own expert corporate solicitor now!
Written By – Omar Shams