Freeing you up…

March 1, 2016

Paula Harris, head of the business team at David Gray Solicitors reflects on the five things to get right so that you can manage your business worry-free

Running a company is exciting – a roller coaster ride of highs and lows.  The ‘legals’ may not protect you from the highs and lows, but getting them right will most certainly keep your business on the rails.

The business and economic landscape is changing in our region.  The recent and welcome growth of small tech businesses is a good example. Businesses like these are finding it difficult to get skilled people and looking overseas to find them. For them, it is highly relevant that from April, the minimum income requirement for Tier 2 work visas increases to a whopping £35k.

The law changes; and it can be misunderstood. For example, if as a business leader you sign a lease for an office or anything else, you may not realise that rent and service charges paid in advance may not be recoverable should you exercise a break in your lease.

Of course, there are specific issues that crop up when you’re growing a business. But, there are only a small number of things that you really need to think about, whatever business you’re in, to make sure that you can concentrate on your markets and customers.

The WHAT – your business structure

The correct business structure for your business will support its success. Whether you are planning to be a sole trader, partnership or limited company (or if you want to change from one of these to another) getting clear, understandable advice will give you real peace of mind that you’ve made the right decision.

If you have others in your business, you might need a shareholder or partnership agreement.

Relying on conversations, emails and agreements made ‘in good faith’ will only work … until they don’t!

The WHERE –  premises

Whether you’re buying your business premises or leasing them, getting the legals right is as important as it would be for your own home. But these are different and getting specialist advice is important. For example, having a lease break clause or formal rent review, could save you thousands and avoid the need for further legal support down the road.

The HOW – employment contracts

Employing people is hard. You should be free to concentrate on managing people, without worrying about whether your employment contracts are fit for purpose. If someone is not right for your business, then your employment contracts should not hinder your ability to do something about it.

Employment contracts are unique to your business. They should reflect your business needs, as well as spelling out employee rights on things such as holidays, sick pay and maternity leave. Employment law is constantly changing, which is why it’s important to get legal advice that’s up to date and keep your HR processes and procedures under regular review.

The WHO: Work visas

Regardless of borders and barriers, you need to get the best people for your business to grow, and that might mean from overseas.  You will need expert support through the immigration process to stand the best possible chance of recruiting the people you need (the Border Agency will also be looking to your employment contracts and HR policies and procedures – so this is an area where joined up thinking is crucial).

The HOW: Commercial Contracts

Whatever the nature of your business, having well drafted commercial contracts means that you, your suppliers and your customers know exactly where everyone stands. You may need a non-disclosure agreement, or memorandum of understanding in advance of a contract or ….. .  There are many!  The key thing to bear in mind is that whatever the subject, the legals should support your business; they are not a ‘nice to have’ they really are a ‘must have’.

Get these 5 things right and make time to enjoy running your business.


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