At what point should you consult a solicitor when starting a business?

For anyone interested in starting up a new business, the excitement can become quickly overwhelming. With so much to take on and consider, starting a business is very different in reality than the idea suggests. It’s very hard to start a business without any kind of professional assistance, yet a service many people forget to involve in the early stages is a commercial solicitor.

For start-up businesses, the key focus is usually on securing their start up costs, developing their website and starting to develop sales. Solicitors can be seen as a service for when a problem arises and help is needed. The relationship between a business owner and their solicitor should be more than a helpline for when things goes wrong. The role of the commercial solicitor can also be to prepare and protect a business, before it even starts trading. This is particularly the case for new businesses as without some legal advice, they are likely to be the most exposed on their legal position.

When will I need to consult a business solicitor?

For most people who are looking to start a business it should be considered at the very beginning of the business. This first consultation should be an opportunity to discuss the business model and to gain a better understanding of the potential legal risks that you may face.

If your business is being run by two or more owners then advice should be sought on how the business should be structured and how partners will work together. For limited companies, a shareholders’ agreement can be put in place which, amongst other things, will set out the shareholders’ rights and obligations, the roles of directors and management of the company, how external investment may be sought and how shares can be transferred. By consulting a company & business solicitor you can ensure that any bespoke requirements are recorded, at a time when all parties are in agreement. It is much harder to effect change when the relationship has started to or has completely broken down!

How else can commercial solicitors help?

It is a common mistake for businesses to operate without professionally drafted terms and conditions. Without a contract with customers or clients, there is always the risk that any oral or email terms are not sufficiently certain to rely on. Consideration should also be given to the legislative requirements applicable to the goods or services being sold or to SMEs generally. For example, with GDPR on the horizon, all businesses will need to review their data protection policies and procedures.

Business owners should also consider their intellectual property rights and whether they should be protected by formal registration. For example, a trading name or logo may need to be protected as a UK trade mark to ensure competitors cannot infringe their goodwill.

Businesses may also need to consider the legal implications of a growth strategy. By fully understanding the business objectives, commercial solicitors can work with the directors and their tax advisers to ensure growth strategies are considered with the legal implications in mind.

AMD’s commercial solicitors in Bristol are extremely experienced and well versed in helping businesses achieve their potential and meet the expected legal requirements. We can aid businesses just starting up by drawing up shareholders’ agreements and Terms and Conditions of business. For more information on how AMD solicitors can help your business simply call our team on 0117 9733989 or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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