Legal considerations when starting a business

Making the decision to start a business is equal parts fun, excitement, pressure, and late nights sitting up with a laptop and a writing pad, trying to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases with regards to legal considerations. You will naturally ask yourself many questions and spend many hours searching for the answers, like “what are the legal obligations surrounding human resources?”, and “do I need to trademark my brand?”, and “how can I protect my assets from a civil lawsuit?”. Things are going to get tricky before the good times come. If you’re up for it, however, starting a business can be a doorway to a new life. Let’s look at some of the more common legal considerations that will need your attention when starting a business.

Business structure

Business structure is a huge legal consideration. You may think that starting your business is of no interest to anyone else and that you don’t need to formally choose a structure until you’re good and ready. But business structure is linked to financial hurdles such as tax. You need to get this right.

Business structures include:

  • Trust – business assets held by an entity
  • Company – a company is legally partitioned from shareholders
  • Sole trader – The sole trader has absolute power over the business
  • Partnership – multiple people/entities collaborate to run the business

Licences and permits

An obvious consideration if you are planning to open a restaurant or bar is whether you require any licences or permits to sell food and drink on the premises. Likewise, you may require other legal documentation if your establishment plans to show movies or allow gambling etc.

Protect what you have built

As mentioned above, trademarks and copyright must be considered. One of the major pitfalls faced by many start-up businesses is failing to protect intellectual property – the unique selling point of your business may be a design or a flavour or an experience, be sure to carry out all necessary due diligence in protecting your business against copycats. This could also extend to ensuring the wording in the small print or privacy policies protects your company.

Your responsibilities as an employer

For this, you will need to seek in-depth legal information. Human resources is not something you can easily navigate without someone experienced in the field to point the way – so don’t try. Issues like pay structure, holiday entitlement, and a grievance procedure all need to be taken care of.