Three Legal Considerations For Starting Your Own Business

Ready to be your own boss, set your own schedule and start posting deep words of wisdom on LinkedIn?

If you’ve got a good idea and plenty of drive, starting your own business can be a great way to take control of your life and start building your own little kingdom.

Starting up a business takes a lot of passion – but you also need to put the right processes in place to make sure you’re business is operating legally. Here are three key considerations to keep in mind.

When you register your business, you’ll need to decide how you want it to be structured. This means setting up as a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership. The way you choose to categorise your company will determine what rules and regulations apply – effecting everything from the tax you pay to who is held liable if things go wrong.

How the business is ‘structured’

It’s worth spending some time researching this in full. Becoming a sole trader is often seen as the most straightforward option, but would mean you become personally liable for any losses or business debts. On the flip side, a limited company allows you to keep your business and personal finances separate, but is more complex and will mean a lot more paperwork and red tape.

Once you’ve picked the best structure for your business, you can register with companies house and get more information about how to pay the correct taxes for your company.

Establishing ownership

Business is ruthless, and if you don’t protect yourself other companies may try and imitate or even steal your good work, before reaping the rewards. This means you need to establish ownership by registering for patents and trademarks or copyrighting important assets. The process can be a little complicated, and will vary based on the type of material you’re trying to protect – but there’s plenty of information to help you out over on the government’s website, which also explains what to do if you need to defend your intellectual property.

Looking after your employees

Ownership is all about legal rights, but you also have obligations. If you’re planning to have other people working for you, you need to make sure you’re following up to date regulations for things like holiday allowance or time off for illness, and that your employment contracts are watertight.

This is important because your team deserves to have a decent standard of employment – but also because making mistakes can leave you open to lawsuits. Once again, the Government website is your friend here, as it lays out the various rules that you need to follow. Check out the pages on employment status, here.

Once you start growing, you should probably consider speaking to a HR consultant, as they’ll make sure you’re fully compliant and make suggestions for improvement if needed.

Aside from employee rights, you should be up to speed on health and safety regulations, so that your office is a safe and pleasant place to be. This also helps to boost morale, which can give you better productivity – so getting it right is a win for everyone.

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