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Legal Practicalities of a New Business

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At our entrepreneurs “Meet & Learn” evening on February 25th we had a great talk by Colin Davies from Okells Francis Law solicitors on the legal practicalities of a new business.

Colin started by reviewing the pros and cons of the most common legal structures for new businesses:

  • Sole trader – most common choice, offers personal tax breaks
  • Partnership – get details in writing!
  • Limited liability partnership – limits liability to the assets of the partnership
  • Limited liability company – other tax breaks, business can be sold on

As well as discussing the factors which help to chose which legal structure, Colin gave insights into other things to consider for good business practice:

  • Research your market at the very beginning, also gather feedback from your customers
  • Think about a brand name – a registered trademark can last forever, patents only last 20 years
  • You can take out intellectual property insurance if needed
  • Ensure your employees are well trained to support your business – have a contract with them
  • Get legal advice on your terms & conditions of business e.g. 30 days to pay, charge interest thereafter
  • Be very clear at which point a business contract is formed – it doesn’t always have to be in writing
  • Make sure there is a clear description of the goods or services to be provided – and the price
  • Invoices must have the name and address of your business, and extra detail if you are a company
  • Consider using agents for overseas markets, but make sure they don’t re-import your goods into the UK!

In the regular discussion afterwards, a number of issues came up around employing people, and we will arrange a talk on that later in the year.

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