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  • Fast Track to Growth

Legal: How to make 2019 your best year yet!

Contributed by Stephens Scown


We’re 11 days into the new year and challenges such as Veganuary, Dry January or Red January may already be starting to feel like a struggle! 

Here at Fast Track to Growth we’re all about positive resolutions and changes. Every Friday in January we’ll be sharing top-tips from some of our partners to help you make 2019 your most successful business year yet.

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First up we have top-tips and legal advice from Giles Dunning at Stephens Scown. 

​​There is so much to think about when starting and growing a business. Stephens Scown has helped many businesses over the years, and knows from experience that getting your business off on the right foot will pay dividends, helping you to achieve your immediate objectives and ensuring a much smoother exit should you decide to sell your business further down the line.

Here are some of the things you should be thinking about:

If you are a limited company, make sure your statutory registers are up to date. This should include a PSC (Persons of Significant Control) register. You must make sure that this information links up with the information filed at Companies House.

Ensure that relationships between business owners are set out clearly. This could mean entering into a Partnership Agreement, or, for those trading through a company, ensuring that the company’s articles are suitable and considering the need for a Shareholders Agreement.

Protecting your ideas and brand makes business sense. This could include registering a trade mark or securing design rights.

If you are paying third parties to do things for you, e.g. setting up a website, ensure that the businesses you use assign all intellectual property rights to you. If this is not done explicitly, rights will remain with them, even once you’ve paid them.

If you are employing staff or plan to do so in the future, you need to have appropriate contracts in place and be aware of your HR and employment obligations.

Again, if you are taking on staff you need to be aware of your obligation to undertake a Right to Work Check. If you don’t, you could receive a £20K fine for each illegal worker.

Review your contracts with suppliers to ensure you know how long you are tied in for and the window for renewal.

Review contracts with your customers to make sure they offer you the appropriate level of security - what notice (if any) would your key customers need to give if they decided to stop dealing with you?

Brexit is also something to be aware of, particularly when entering into contracts. For example, if the contract could be adversely affected by a no deal Brexit, you need to ensure it contains the appropriate clauses to protect you.

Starting a business is a major life change and is a good time to review your Will, or put one in place if you don’t already have one. 

If you are married or planning to get married, a pre or post nuptial agreement will set out what you want to happen to your business if your relationship were to break down. Cohabitation agreements can also provide reassurance for unmarried couples.

Considering your Powers of Attorney should give you peace of mind should something happen to you, ensuring business continuity if you are unable to work or make decisions. 

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Giles Dunning is partner and head of corporate at Stephens Scown LLP. The firm has expertise in corporate and commercial law, employment, immigration, intellectual property, family, private client and more. For more information or if you have a legal question, please call Giles on 01392 201700 or email solicitors@stephens-scown.co.uk

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