The Legal Basics for Start-Ups
It’s an exciting time when you’re launching a new business, but it is also critical to ensure that the legal foundations are in place to protect your start-up from the beginning. There are several key steps that founders should take when setting up a new business. These legal tips for start-ups can help ensure success in the long run.
Consider your Business Structure
One of the first steps founders should take is to select the right type of business structure. The most common are sole trader, partnership or a limited liability company. The right one for you depends on factors such as size, control, tax considerations, and personal liability protection. It’s important to consider all these factors before making a decision so that you understand how each structure affects your business legally.
If you opt for a limited company and there are two or more of you going into business together, then it’s essential to engage a specialist corporate solicitor to draft a shareholders’ agreement to ensure everyone involved understands their rights and responsibilities. A shareholders agreement outlines how decisions will be made within the company, who owns what percentage of shares and how dividends will be distributed amongst shareholders. More importantly, it can also include provisions on how disputes between shareholders are resolved and how ownership of the shares transfer if one shareholder leaves or passes away. Having this in writing helps avoid future conflicts between shareholders down the line and ensures everyone is held accountable for their obligations as part of the business.
Registering Your Company
In order to operate legally under applicable laws and regulations, it’s important that all businesses register with the appropriate regulatory bodies depending on what sector your business operates in. It is also important to ensure that any required licenses or permits needed to trade are obtained. Without this, you are opening your business up to considerable risk and possibly subject to fines and penalties which could have been avoided by taking this step early in the process.
Contracts & Agreements
When setting up a business, contracts and agreements are essential for protecting the interests of both parties involved. Contracts should include details about all aspects of the agreement including payment terms, delivery schedules, warranties, intellectual property rights, dispute resolution procedures and termination clauses. It’s important to consult with your solicitor to draft legally tight contracts so that all avenues are covered and the parties involved are aware of their rights and obligations under the agreement.
Intellectual Property Protection
For start-ups that rely on intellectual property such as trademarks or copyrights, it’s important to protect those assets from infringement or misuse by others. Registering trademarks or copyrights can help prevent someone else from using your ideas without permission or compensation. Additionally, it’s important to know if you have any existing patents that should be registered in order to properly protect them from infringement as well.
To maximise success for your start-up business venture it is essential to understand the legal implications associated with setting up a company. Establishing the correct business structure can help minimise tax liabilities; contracts and agreements should protect all parties involved; and intellectual property should be properly protected through registering trademarks or copyrights, if necessary. With these tips in mind you can ensure that your start-up is legally sound before launching into operations.
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