There are so many legal considerations to running a small-to-medium business. From structuring your business, to assisting with running your business to your exit plans, we are here to help you get started, maintain your business and achieve success. We listen to your needs and use our vast experience to help you minimise your risks, solve your problems and keep your business running smoothly.
Starting your business
Establishing a business can be exciting and exhausting! You may have a great idea you want to develop or you may want to purchase all or part of an existing business.
How you start is really important, so getting commercial legal advice can steer you in the right direction. A commercial lawyer who listens to your ideas, your goals, your current circumstances and your concerns, can help you get the basics sorted, so you can build a successful business from a strong foundation. This includes looking at:
- which business structure will be right for you– taking into account your overall circumstances and goals for the business; your liabilities and risks; and whether a trust structure might benefit you and minimise your tax obligations
- agreements that will make sure you are properly protected from the beginning – these can include a company constitution, shareholder (or partnership) agreements, employment contracts, lease agreement and financing.
If you have an interest in buying into a franchise, talk to us about franchising (You can see this series of blog posts here.)
And if you are developing a startup, we have devoted a page on this to help you get up and running.
Managing your business
Most business owners who are technically skilled and interested in the ‘doing’ part of their business usually benefit from assistance with the legal aspects of ‘running’ a business. The legal issues that we can help you identify and plan for include:
- the documents, policies and procedures that help you to run a business smoothly and avoid issues – such as privacy and data breach policies, and terms and conditions
- competition law and consumer law – so that you operate effectively in your sector and understand your obligations to your consumers
- commercial contracts – with suppliers and/or sellers, contractors, consultants and agencies
- premises and equipment – whether the arrangement is leasing, licensing or ownership, including mortgages and securities
- the Personal Property Securities Register – if your business involves selling, buying or hiring personal property such as equipment, machinery or inventory
- employment contracts and obligations – we discuss employment more fully here.
- intellectual property – you can find out more about IP here.
Problems and disputes
Problems and disputes are unwelcome, but they need to be dealt with effectively and in a timely manner. Our lawyers emphasise strategic, practical and cost-effective legal advice with a focus on resolving your dispute. While we will provide you with solutions that use alternative dispute resolution methods, we can also take any of your matters through litigation.
Common business problems needing legal assistance include:
- Shareholder, director or partner disputes
- Workplace disputes
- Contractual disputes
- Supplier or customer disputes
We have shared some of our expertise about commercial disputes here.
Expanding your business
A successful business may enable you to develop into other markets or include others in your venture. These include:
- developing different paths to market your product or service – such as ecommerce
- commercialising your IP
- establishing branches, additional offices or locations
- increasing shareholders or business partners
- interstate or international markets
- franchising your idea (you may want to read this blog post).
We focus on long-term relationships with our corporate clients – contributing to your business by understanding your sector, your goals, your circumstances and your personal needs. We have worked with many small local businesses across a wide range of sectors and helped them develop their unique venture.
In addition, our membership with Meritas, a global alliance of business law firms, places us in an ideal position to assist local, national and international businesses.
Successfully exiting your business
One of the greatest concerns of baby-boomer business owners in Canberra is how they will convert their years of hard work and the large portion of wealth contained in their business into a suitable retirement outcome.
Strategic succession planning is the key to assisting business owners to identify, protect, maximise and extract the value contained within their business and achieve a successful exit.
A successful succession plan should consider three important factors:
- exit readiness and value maximisation for the business
- personal and family wealth management to fund retirement and provide for future generations
- life after business – preparing the owner (and often their family) for what might be several years of retirement.
Business succession is not something you should think about only when you are ready to retire. Our Business Succession service can guide you to ensure that you maximise your return within a timeframe that suits you best. We can also assist you with the legal documents often required to facilitate your exit.
Watch our video to find out more about our legal services for businesses.
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