Starting a business and building it up to become a great success is challenging yet really exciting. In addition to having a great product or service, it’s key to have other key building blocks in place. Good legal advice at the outset means you start off on the right track and has many other advantages.
Sess Sigre, head of our commercial law department has been advising start ups and small businesses for some 40 years. Many of these businesses remain his clients today, which Sess is really proud of. If you decide to instruct us, you can be assured that we can not only ensure you have the right documents and contracts in place but you also get the benefit of a wealth of experience of general business issues and possible pitfalls.
Sess and his team also fully understand the dilemma facing the start up or smallest business – legal advice must be proportionate in cost and value at a time when you have other key priorities.
Legal risks for start ups and small businesses
Unfortunately, many start ups decide to put off taking legal advice, seeing it as too expensive or low down on the list of priorities. Many will have the intention to deal with the legals at some future point, but that is often too late. The 3 key problems that arise all too commonly for start ups are:-
- failing to understand not only the importance of limiting liability but also, if going into business with someone else, to have a carefully considered shareholder or partnership agreement in place.
- not having the right contracts in place – this does not mean just having a document drawn up, it also means understanding the basics of contract law and what can and will go wrong, if you have contracts but don’t understand them fully.
- failing to get legal advice at the outset can adversely impact your ability to convince a bank or other lender to advance money to you. Lenders will want to assess credibility and attitude to risk, and if it appears that you haven’t considered possible risks and downsides for your business or that you don’t properly plan ahead, this can be a risk factor for lending to you. Capital and cashflow are of course crucial for all businesses.
Legal advice and services we offer to small businesses and start up businesses
- general small business training and advice.
- terms and conditions of trading.
- advise on business structures.
- shareholder or partnership agreements.
- lease advice if you are taking a lease of commercial premises.
- advice on personal guarantees which may be required by banks or other lenders.
- how to negotiate, protect your interests and deal with legal issues with 3rd parties – such as when buying goods.
- protecting your business ideas.
- advice where you may take on consultants such as IT contractors on contract terms and pitfalls.
- if your new business has a website and you are spending money with web designers or developers, we can advise on the contract terms which you should insist on.
- employment law advice when you start employing staff.
- structuring your business – whether as a limited company or otherwise and in some cases, you may want to set up more than one entity i.e. set up a group company structure. We also advise on company law issues such as amending the standard articles of association.
- regulatory compliance – your business may operate in a market which has it’s own statutory or other regulations, or may need licences.
Our ethos is to develop a long lasting and ongoing relationship with our clients and to ensure that all clients see us not as a necessary evil but as a sounding board who can be turned to for general advice as much if not more than where transactional situations or major issues arise.