Top Tips for Start Up’s

Starting a business can be a daunting experience. With an abundance of information available to you (some usual, some not) how do you decide what to rely on, what will be of benefit or what to focus on? The commercial team here at Berry Smith has provided 5 tops tips for every start up to consider when launching and growing their business:

Choose your business structure

There are several legal structures available to your business, with the most common being sole trader, partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLP’s) and private limited companies. Each have different implications as well as benefits and limitations. For example, if you want to separate any personal liability then a private limited company or LLP may be of consideration. However, if you want something which is easy to set up with less regulation and paperwork then perhaps a sole trader would be the way forward. Whichever one you choose, make sure you have given it significant thought and spoken with professional advisers.

Identify and understand your Intellectual Property

The intellectual property contained in your business can be a highly valuable asset and may significantly increase your company’s worth. A business will often hold various types of intellectual property; confidential information, trade marks, patents and copyright to name a few. The basic level of intellectual property would be your branding i.e. your business name and logo.  Whether you create your own branding or instruct a third party, such as a marketing agent or graphic designer, it is vital to ensure that you don’t infringe the branding of another business, as this could lead to legal action taken against you as well as being required to re-brand, potentially losing any goodwill previously created. Once you’ve settled on a name and logo, make sure you seek to register it with the intellectual property office.

Ensure you put in place legal contracts

Every business enters into contracts and when they do, they should be aware about the terms and conditions that govern the transaction. As a business, you should be looking to put in place your own legal documentation with standard terms and conditions a common starting point. Terms and conditions will govern your relationship with your customers, setting out the obligations and responsibilities of both parties whilst providing you with invaluable legal protection. However, before drafting your terms and conditions, consider the relationships you have with your suppliers and other third parties, as certain legal conditions may need to be passed through to your customer. In addition to terms and conditions, there are a variety of specialist contracts available and it may be that further contracts are eventually required and, as such, legal advice should be sought in order to fully understand your requirements..

Data protection compliance

Data protection compliance should form a key part of your business. As a startup you have the opportunity to ensure that you get data protection compliance right from day one and this then resonates throughout the organisation. You need to consider the type of data you collect, why you need it and for what purpose, where it goes and how long you keep it for, as well as a whole host of other obligations set out in the relevant legislation. Clear privacy policies and related documentation will assist you with your compliance with data protection laws.

Employment law

Whilst this is an article written by commercial lawyers, if you plan to take on employees then you need to be aware of the applicable rules. Employment contracts and staff hand books are just two of the matters your business will need to ensure they get right from the very beginning.

What is vital to any new business is that they have the correct advice from the outset. Berry Smith has all the necessary experience to assist you in launching and growing your business. We also work closely with third parties that specialise in tax, insurance, marketing and business consulting should you require further advice on matters outside of our expertise.

Don’t be tempted to use online documents or terms published by your competitors, as they may not be suited for your business or legally correct, not to mention there could be an infringement of their intellectual property. Always remember that when it comes to legal advice, it’s not “one-size fits all” and by speaking with us at an early stage it would mean we can provide expert advice that is tailored to your business needs.

For further information on starting or growing a business or for any other commercial matters, please contact us at commercial@berrysmith.com.