Clifford Gouldson Lawyers

New Business? - 6 Legal Tips

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18/10/2013

When starting a new business, there is so much ground to cover. With the excitement of getting a new business started many people focus on the financial and practical aspects but don’t take enough care with their legal issues.

Here are 6 top tips to help protect you from legal surprises that might come arise just when you’ve got your business up and running.

1. Consider your structure – starting your business with the best structure will give you the best tax outcome, maximise your flexibility to introduce new business partners in the future and protect your personal assets from business risk. If you do not look at your structure until the business has grown, you may be facing a significant stamp duty bill to move the business into an alternative structure.

2. Permits and licences – make sure you meet all local, State and Federal government requirements. A breach or enforcement notice can bring your business to a grinding halt.

3. Intellectual property – while you may not think you can afford to spend money to protect the intellectual property of a fledgling business, your business may never grow if you do not protect your unique idea from your competition. Equally, it is important that you are not infringing the intellectual property rights of another party with your business name or logo. It is important to note that holding a registered business name is not a defence to such an infringement action.

4. Terms and conditions – while the terms on the back of invoices may seem inconsequential, when you need to recover a bad debt from a customer or a customer makes a claim against you for the quality of the goods/services you have supplied, these are the terms of your ‘contract’ with your customer which can be used to recover what is owed to you or to protect you from a claim.

5. Insurance – seek specialist insurance advice to ensure you understand the insurance obligations imposed on you by other parties (for example, your landlord). Otherwise, you may find yourself both uninsured and in breach of a contractual obligation.

6. Workplace - if your new business has employees you should make sure you get your employment terms and conditions right from the outset. If you are taking on existing employees avoid inheriting the mistakes of previous owners.

If you require any assistance or advice when starting your new business, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Business Services team.

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