The legal side of things is very important when starting a business. It’s helpful to know that everything you need is in order and it also stops anyone from stealing your idea before you even get your business off the ground. Here are some of the legal aspects to consider when starting a business.
The Rules and Regulations Surrounding Your Business Name
Let’s start with the basics: your company name. The name of your business will stay with you for a long time, so it’s important to get it right. But there are, of course, some rules to adhere to when naming your company. If you’re forming a limited company, you won’t be allowed to give your business a name that is deemed too similar to the name of another business. Basically, you probably won’t get away with calling your company “Sparks and Mencers”. Likewise, your company name can’t be anything that is deemed offense or illegal.
Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents
A trademark identifies your product or service in the eyes of the public and, once registered, is protected by the law and grants you the right to take legal action against anyone else taking credit for it. Similar rules apply to copyrights and patents, which exist to protect the fruits of your labour from being used by rival businesses, or by anyone else, without your permission. Copyrights are automatic, unlike patents, which must be applied for.
There are a number of laws, such as the Trades Description Act and the Sale of Goods Act, which you must be aware of and adhere to. These laws were drafted primarily to protect the consumer, but some trade laws exist for your protection as well, so it’s good to have a reasonable understanding of how these laws affect your business.
What Insurance are You Legally Required to Have?
Insurance needs to be seen as a necessity, and major priority, for your business. There are some types of insurance that the law demands that you have and some that you may want to consider taking out for your own protection. Types of insurance that are required by law include employer’s liability insurance, motor insurance (where applicable), insurance demanded by any contracts you may have, and the insurance required for certain kinds of engineering equipment (again, where applicable).
Knowing Your Tax Liabilities
Putting your business expenses down against your gross profit will reduce the amount of tax you have to pay, so it’s important that you keep accurate records. You may want to seek professional advice from an accountant to ensure that you are fulfilling your obligations as far as tax is concerned.
It’s also worth considering whether or not you want to register for VAT. You should fall within the obligatory VAT registration threshold to start off with, but some businesses still register voluntarily. As a rule of thumb, if your customers are VAT-registered, then you should be too, but if they aren’t, then you needn’t be either. This is a very sweeping statement, though, so it’s still worth consulting an accountant regarding your best course of action.
Business Advice from the Fabulous Group
If you have started a business and require advice on anything from finance, to marketing, to developing a strategy for growth, the Fabulous Group can help. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us today on 0800 112 0880, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.