The importance of getting the right legal advice for your early-stage start-up
Whether you're selling a product or providing services to meet a market need, you should be aware of the legal hurdles your start-up needs to overcome from an early stage. Rebecca Neumann, Senior Paralegal at Rocket Lawyer, shares some advice.
When starting a business, creating a business plan is essential to detail what your business is, who is going to use your products/services and how you're going to make this happen. Having a lawyer review your plan will help you comply with relevant laws and regulations from the get-go.
You'll also need to decide on your start-up's business structure, consider several factors including the complexity of setting up, the amount of paperwork involved, the taxes that need to be paid and personal responsibilities/liability if the business fails or makes a loss. Not only can a lawyer advise you on the best structure for your start-up, but can also help you register your business (e.g. incorporating a private limited company at Companies House).
Make sure you have the relevant legal documentation for your start-up - for example, if you start a company, a founders' agreement, shareholders' agreement and the articles of association provide the roadmap to running your business. A lawyer can ensure that your documents are appropriate for your business.
You'll want legal support to protect the business know-how and ideas of your start-up. This may involve preparing relevant non-disclosure agreements to protect confidential information and registering any intellectual property (IP).
If you seek funding for your start-up, a lawyer can help you with the funding process; like preparing any investment agreements and other documentation with your investors.
A lawyer can also assist you with hiring for your start-up, helping you avoid any unlawful discrimination and ensure that you comply with your legal obligations as an employer (e.g. purchasing relevant insurance, preparing employment policies and conducting health and safety assessments).
Further, a lawyer can help your start-up with any business-to-business contracts you enter into. Having a lawyer prepare such contracts can help reduce the risk of legal disputes, ensure payment and provide a clear course of action if one party does not hold up their end of the deal.
It is a good idea to seek legal advice for your start-up as soon as possible. A lawyer cannot only provide protection against any potential legal issues that may arise but will also enable you to receive ongoing support from the start. Consider using Rocket Lawyer's ask a lawyer service if you have any questions.