Why do I need a lawyer when I start my business?

Starting a new business is a big event in anyone’s life. You’ve probably had the idea for the business in the back of your mind for some time, or perhaps someone has approached you with a business idea which they would like to develop with you. So you want to make sure it is a success. Part of this success is due, in part, to ensuring that you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s when starting out. Being diligent at the start, and managing the potential risks that the business may or may not incur, is of significant importance. Because dealing with the risks at the start is a lot easier than dealing with the problems that come down the track if you don’t properly plan.

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy

This is where advice from a lawyer can be so crucial to a business’ success. There are a number of legal issues that you should give due consideration to before you start trading, such as:

  • what business structure is most appropriate?  Should you operate as a sole trader, in a partnership, or as a registered corporation?
  • are you allowed to use the business name you wish to use?  Does another existing business already use the same or a similar business name?  Has that other name been registered?  Is there a trademark similar to your chosen business name?
  • what premises will the business operate from?  Will you be required to sign a retail or commercial lease?  How long will you have the right to occupy those premises?
  • what will the terms and conditions for your dealings with clients/customers be?  what rights will you have against them to recover unpaid debts?
  • are there any intellectual property issues that you need to consider, such as registering your logo as a trademark?
  • what laws will you need to comply with in your chosen business?  Workplace health and safety?  Trade practices?  Industrial relations?
  • what rights and obligations do you want to establish in terms of your partnership or directors/shareholders?

We always recommend that clients wishing to start up a new business speak to us about the various legal issues involved (part of our “Legal Health Check” service), and discuss the steps that can be taken to adequately manage the risks with each of the issues.

 

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