Starting a business while the economy is struggling would at first glance make very little sense. Yet, history tells us otherwise. Many of the world’s best known and most successful organizations took the plunge during recession times. As solicitors we see the same pattern emerging locally today. In the face of adversity, fledgling enterprises are negotiating their way into existence. Those with the greatest chances of survival are the ones who road test their plans and temper their enthusiasm with credible legal advice.
Keeping costs down is an absolute essential for start-ups. However not taking solid legal advice could result in unforeseen problems which could cost far more than the legal fee for the advices that should have been obtained at the beginning. Some of the questions that should be asked are as follows:-
Should I set up a business as a sole trader, as a partnership or as a limited company? The type of structure you choose depends on the kind of business you are running, with whom you will be doing business and your attitude to risk.
If I recruit staff must I have a formal employment contract? You need to know your obligations and duties as an employer and what are the rights of employees.
If I decide to rent a property should I have a formal letting agreement with my landlord? Failure to have a properly negotiated lease in place could leave you in a precarious position as a landlord could ask you to move out just as you are getting started.
If I rely on one main supplier or one main contract what is the worst that could happen if I do not have a properly negotiated contract with them? The consequences of not having such a contract in place could be devastating to your business.
Am I starting a business which requires compliance with a particular set of regulations? Being part of the euro zone means that we have to comply with complex regulations in almost all areas of industry and commerce.
Do I really need to have a health and safety certificate even in an office situation? These rules are quite strict and ignoring them could mean that you face a law suit from an employee who injures themselves lifting a box not having received proper instruction.
Have I protected my intellectual property rights? Not doing so may result in your idea being stolen and used by someone else and you will suffer loss as a result.
Am I in compliance with Data Protection legislation? If your business is one which requires the storage of personal client information you need to ensure that it is properly protected and stored securely.
Should I agree invoicing terms with my customers? Ideally you should use standard terms and conditions, but it is worthwhile going through the most important of these with your customers such as pricing, payment terms, discounts (if any), insurance and carriage (if relevant). Cash flow is key to survival!!
At Hassett Considine Solicitors we have advised numerous start up companies and having gone through the start up process ourselves recently we are well aware of the pitfalls and well placed to provide solid advice. Please contact us to arrange a free consultation.