If you are considering setting up a business it’s a good idea to get the correct legal foundations in place as soon as possible and here are our 5 top legal tips for setting a successful business:
- Business Structure – The 5 most common business structures are: (i) a private company limited by shares; (ii) a private company limited by guarantee; (iii) sole trader; (iv) a limited liability partnership; and (v) a general partnership. The main determining factors as to which would be the most appropriate structure for you include: (i) which is the most tax efficient and you should consult your tax advisor/ accountant to get guidance on this; and (ii) which reduces the risks associated with running a business; and (iii) which structure is most commonly used/ recognised in your business sector.
- Terms and Conditions – It is important that you ensure that you have watertight terms and conditions in place if you are supplying goods and/ or services. The main points to consider in drafting your terms and conditions include clearly defining: (i) the goods and services you will be supplying so there is no scope for misinterpretation; (ii) the price and payment terms so that you know exactly when you will be paid and whether there will be late payment interest in the event payment should be delayed; (iii) any limitations and / or exclusions of liability; (iv) ownership of any intellectual property rights; and (v) under what circumstances the terms and conditions will terminate.
- Insurance – You should ensure that you have all necessary insurance in place to operate your business. If the business has any employees then you will need to ensure that there is employers liability insurance in place. It is also important to ensure that you have public liability insurance which covers damage to person and damage to property. You might also need to consider professional indemnity insurance and officers and directors liability insurance.
- Website – Many business have a website which is used to promote the business and/ or sell goods and services. It’s important that if you use a website developer to design the website that you have a website development agreement in place. A website development agreement should include: (i) a transfer of all intellectual property rights in the content of the website to you; (ii) an indemnity or guarantee that the website content will not infringe any third party intellectual property rights; and (iii) acceptance tests to ensure that the website works the way you want it to.
- Branding – A lot of businesses try to ensure that the limited company name, trading or brand name and also the website domain name all incorporate the same name. For instance my company is called Summerfield Browne Limited, our trading name is Summerfield Browne Solicitors and our domain name is www.summerfieldbrowne.com. It is therefore important before you choose your company name to do a search of: (i) companies house company name register; (ii) intellectual property office trademarks register; and (iii) the relevant domain name register, to ensure that your chosen name is available and that no one else is already using it. If you require any further information on business law please contact Christian Browne of Summerfield Browne Solicitors on 01858 414284 or alternatively email him at