There are a number of ways a business can operate. It could be incorporated as a company to take advantage of limited liability. Alternatively, a sole trader or partnership whilst not attracting limited liability is slightly simpler to administer and more private as returns and accounts do not need to be filed at Companies House.
If going into business with others, consider regulating the relationship using shareholders or partnership agreements. These cover important points such as what happens if a co-owner dies, retires or leaves the business and how hard earned efforts are rewarded and shared.
You may be buying a ready made business as a franchise. Whilst appealing, as often is the case, the devil is in the detail. Do you have sole rights to supply the goods or services in a specific geographical area? Are there any hidden fees or penalties in the agreement?
Terms of Trade:
The terms on which you buy or supply goods and services can spell the difference between success and failure. What if a product is defective or you are not paid? Carefully drafted terms should reflect your business needs and include different provisions if you trade on the internet.
Renting business Premises:
Your premises are a key part of your business. You should take legal advice on any lease before you commit. What will your liability for repairs and other costs be? Can the landlord require you to leave the premises and do you have the flexibility to end the lease if the premises are no longer suitable?
Hopefully business will flourish and you employ more staff. Alternatively, business may slow and you need to make redundancies. Businesses need to keep abreast of frequent changes in employment law legislation. Bespoke employment contracts and
procedures should be put in place to avoid any dispute that could prove costly and damage employee relations.
The Bribery Act:
Many businesses are concerned about the recently introduced Bribery Act Legislation exposing them to risk of prosecution. Such fears can generally be dispelled by an appropriately drafted Bribery Act policy to protect from this risk.
Cash flow and maintaining tight credit control are vital for new businesses. If customers are late in paying invoices Parkinson Wright’s Debt Recovery Department can assist with
Letters before action (which often lead to payments being made) or, if necessary, recovery proceedings.
Business Health check:
Parkinson Wright offer an initial free no obligation consultation for new or existing businesses consisting of an informal discussion to see what (if any) of the above documents and procedures a business has in place to protect itself. After agreeing a fee, existing documents and policies are reviewed and necessary amendments made or bespoke ones drafted from scratch to give the business a clean bill of health.
To discuss any of the above further or book a free business health check, contact Jeremy Redfern, Partner, email@example.com or Mark Blake, Litigation Solicitor firstname.lastname@example.org at Parkinson Wright, on 01905 726 789.