There is nothing more exciting than the thought of opening your own business. But you have to go through so many processes when starting your company, that your excitement can easily fade away when you think about it.
Top lawyers say that learning and dealing with the legal issues that come with starting your own business can help you navigate these processes efficiently and effectively. You will also reduce the chances of making costly and time-consuming mistakes that could delay or negatively affect your plans to open your business.
When starting your business, there are a number of legal requirements that you must satisfy or adhere to. The most important are:
1 – The legal structure of your business
One of the many important decisions you must make when starting a business is deciding on the legal status or structure of your company. The legal structure you choose will have an impact on how you run your business. It will affect how you pay your taxes and maintain your accounts.
The most commonly used corporate legal structures are:
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
To decide which situation is best for your new business, consider all the credit issues that may be associated with your company. Consider what type of tax structure will work best for your business.
2 – Trademark
Before choosing a legal name for your business, do a thorough search online first. Find out if there is another business operating under the name you came up with for your new business. Do this to avoid infringing on another company’s trademark and getting caught in a trademark infringement action.
Once you’ve chosen your legal company name, consider registering your business name and logo (if you already have one) as a trademark. This will prevent others from registering their company under the same name.
3 – Licenses
You will need several types of licenses or permits before opening your business. The number of licenses your business will need will depend on the type of facility you want it to be. At a minimum, you’ll need a business license, a trade license, and a sales tax permit.
If you plan to open a restaurant, bar, or catering company, you will need to register with the local regulatory body for food standards and health and safety oversight. If you plan to provide entertainment at your property, you will also need to obtain the appropriate permits for music and entertainment.
It is best to do more research and contact local government agencies to learn more about the specific licenses you will need to operate your business legally.
4 – Design rules
If you are still looking for the perfect location for your shop, center or office, you should make sure that the location you are looking for is well designed for the type of business you plan to run. Also, do some research or ask local government agencies to confirm that you can open your business in that area.
Don’t make the costly mistake of thinking that your location is suitable just because your business is similar to those that already exist. There will be cases where the design may have changed while other businesses are already operating, and these companies may be given exemptions that may not be given to new establishments like yours.
5 – Appropriate health and safety regulations
As a business owner, you will need to take on several important health and safety responsibilities. This includes ensuring that your employees work in a safe, healthy environment.
You also have a duty to care for the welfare of anyone including customers and visitors inside, outside, and around your business premises.
It is highly recommended that you conduct a risk assessment to help identify the risks posed by individuals to your business activities. Then you should reduce these risks or risks as much as possible. This may include changing certain standard operating procedures and removing other items to ensure that employees and members of the public are safe.
6 – Insurance
Most business jurisdictions require all businesses that employ a large number of employees to obtain employer’s liability insurance. But apart from being a legal requirement, when you have adequate cover, you will avoid being charged a fine every day you are uninsured. You also avoid leaving yourself vulnerable to compensation claims from employees and visitors who may be injured or become ill while on your premises.
Aside from employer’s liability insurance, you may want to consider investing in public liability or professional indemnity. These types of cover will help protect your business from compensation claims if something goes wrong.
7 – Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements
Finally, if you are going to work with a bank or other partners for business financing or enter into contracts with suppliers, make sure you have appropriate confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in place.
These organizations will have access to business information that you may want to keep confidential and, therefore, you should consider preparing these contracts. Make sure your partners and suppliers also sign them.
Knowing which laws apply to your new business is also important if you want to open a company overseas. If you want to expand internationally, make it a priority to contact a reliable law firm to guide you through all the legal steps along the way.
Our guest writer Al Tamimi is a senior partner at the law firm Al Tamimi & Company.