When starting a small business there is much to focus on, and with budget and time constraints, sometimes getting robust legal arrangements in place can get overlooked. It may have been just you, testing the waters, and so didn’t need an office, consider brand protection or felt that a quick set of standard terms and conditions sufficed.
However, as your business grows and evolves, its need for legal protection regulatory compliance will change. Take some time to review your arrangements and get the most out of your contracts.
Standard Terms and Conditions
Standard contracts are usual practice for most businesses, but if it doesn’t comply with the proper requirements, or no longer reflects the way you do business then it may not be offering you the protection you need. Regularly review any standard documents you use to ensure they are up do date and properly reflect the way you do business.
Nowadays, an online presence is critical and as your business grows so do your needs for marketing and branding. Get advice on protecting your intellectual property, ensuring copyright and getting Trade Mark Protection, as soon as you can – the more valuable your brand becomes, the higher the risk of copying.
If you are selling goods or services over the internet, ensure that you are complying with consumer protection legislation and online regulations – website T&Cs, privacy policies and GDPR compliance are all key and getting the proper advice to make sure you don’t fall foul of the law.
When new people join the business make sure that relationships are properly documented. If new investors, shareholders or partners have come on board, think about how you will deal with big decisions and profit sharing. A properly drafted shareholders agreement or partnership agreement is crucial.
If the business requires more time and attention, is everybody clear of what is expected of them? Putting together work specifications and service level agreements makes sure that everyone knows what they are expected to bring to the table.
If you have taken on staff, get proper employment contracts and practices in place. Getting advice will ensure that you meet your legal requirements as an employer, as well as get the most out of your employees.
Entering into contracts
A bigger business has more needs – bigger offices, a marketing company or new suppliers. When entering into contracts with others take the time to get them checked. Being locked into an unsuitable arrangements will impact your business and cause stress that can be avoided with careful pre-contract reviews and advice.
At Neves we recognise the different needs of businesses and can assist in a contract review to ensure that everything is up to date and legally compliant, or provide advice on any area that may be of concern as your needs change.