You have a great business idea and are ready to get your business empire started? Make sure you set it up it right first time to help ensure the business is a success.

Starting a business is all about planning and preparation. Amongst other things you will need to ensure you have done market research on your business idea, prepared a business plan, worked with an accountant to put together a budget, forecast and pricing models and obtained sufficient funding for your business.

Another important part of your planning and preparation is setting up all the legal aspects correctly which include:

  • Business Name: Your name needs to match your branding strategy but you also need to ensure it does not infringe somebody else’s existing name and/or trade mark. Once you come up with an original name then you may wish to consider registering it as a trade mark to give it extra protection.
  • Trading Entity: For most businesses it is preferable to use a company as the trading entity. This is because the company is a separate legal entity so that the directors and shareholders are not liable for the company’s debts unless some exception applies.
  • Shareholders Agreement/Joint Venture Agreement: If you are entering into business with other people then you should have a shareholders agreement or joint venture agreement setting out the rights and responsibilities of each party. This helps to avoid any disputes later.
  • Confidentiality Agreement: If you have come up with a great business idea the last thing you want is for somebody to steal it off you. This means before telling anybody about your ideas you have to first get them to sign a confidentiality agreement which requires them to keep your ideas secret and not use it for their own purposes.
  • Lease of Premises: : If you will be leasing premises for your business you need to ensure the terms of the lease are correctly documented in a deed of lease.
  • Terms of Trade:  Every business will need to have customers and you should have terms of trade with your customer setting out all the key aspects of the relationship with your customer. E.g. what you are supplying to the customer, the price and when it is payable, consequences of late payment, extent of liability to the customer. Terms of trade can help with recovering overdue payments and to avoid disputes with customers.
  • Employment Agreements: If you are planning to hire employees for your business then you are required to have a written signed employment agreement for each employee.

A lawyer can help you to check your name does not infringe somebody else’s rights, to set up a company and ensure that all of the necessary documents outlined above are prepared correctly. This will protect your rights and minimise your liability and thereby increase the chances of your business developing into a success.

Contact the team at Blackwells to discuss setting up your business and help you to ensure you get it right first time.