When you first have an idea for a business, your mind will be whirring with excitement and creativity. You’ll be keen to get started with the fun stuff of drawing up your long-term plans, designing products and websites, and getting out there and networking and marketing your ideas.
However, the unfortunate truth is that there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you start a business. And unless you spend a significant amount of time and energy looking at the broad range of protections you need to take, you’re just setting yourself up for trouble, rather than success.
With this in mind, we thought we would give you a brief outline of everything you need to cover when starting out in a new business. Yes, there are probably more interesting things you want to be doing. But, ultimately, it will all be for nothing if you don’t have the right protections in place. Let’s take a closer look.
First of all, make sure you form the company in the right way. There could be a multitude of issues later on down the line if you don’t choose the right legal framework for your new business, so get it right from the off. You can visit Your Company Formations Limited or head over to the HMRC website for more information on setting up a limited company or forming any other type of business. It’s advisable to hire a business lawyer and an accountant in the early stages, too. Your accountant will help you keep your nose clean with regards to finances and tax laws. And having a lawyer on board right from the start will give you a secure and experienced foundation that you can draw upon in any legal situation – which will occur, no matter how you try and avoid them.
Your Intellectual Property
Don’t underestimate the threat of industrial espionage and the impact it can have on your business. Your ideas – if good enough – are an attractive prospect for other entrepreneurs, who may be in a better position than you are to make them happen. It would be catastrophic to be beaten in a race with another company to launch a product you have created, so make sure you have protections for your intellectual property. Trademarks, patents, brand protections – get cover for them all.
Here’s another big reason to get a business lawyer involved at an early stage – your contracts. You will need to have agreements with everyone involved with your business, from your co-founders and your investors to your suppliers and customers. Employment contracts are essential, too, of course, and the slightest mistake or incorrectly worded statement in a contract could result in a lot of financial pain. Contracts give you legal protection when hiring people, trading goods, and enforcing processes with your suppliers, so do not neglect this vital part of starting a business.
If the worst happens – which it will do at some point – you need insurance to cover your costs. Let’s assume a worker or a visitor to your business premises suffers a severe injury while in your workplace. A day or two in court could result in crippling compensation payments, which could well see you going out of business. There’s theft to consider, too, as well as product malfunctions, service disruptions, and anything else a customer might take issue with.
The technical side of running a business
Make sure that you don’t get carried away with the exciting side of running a business and leave the core stuff to one side. No one likes doing admin, of course, but if you forget about the basic corporate and legal responsibilities – such as keeping your accounts in good order – your business dreams might end in tears. There is an enormous range of things that will need doing, from license renewals through to meeting minutes, but you need to make sure that you cover yourself by doing everything in the correct way.
As a business owner, it can be hard to track everything that needs doing on a daily basis – you just won’t have the time. There is a solution, however, which lies in the field of human resources. Whether you hire an HR team full-time or outsource to a third party HR service, they can be a great help ensuring your business is going about its duties in the right way. While many business owners look at hiring sales or marketing teams first to grow their businesses, you might be better off installing an HR presence instead.