Legal Advice for Start-Ups & Small Businesses

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Legal Advice for Start-Ups & Small Businesses

Starting and building a successful business is both challenging and exciting. In addition to having a great product or service to offer, it’s important to have other key building blocks in place. Obtaining good legal advice from the outset means you start off on the right track, with many other advantages.

We have been advising high growth-potential start-ups, scale-ups  and small businesses for more than 40 years; in that time, we have developed substantial expertise in this area of law. By instructing us, you can be sure that you have the right documents and contracts in place, whilst benefiting from our wealth of experience of general business issues and possible pitfalls. Many of our start-up clients are led by entrepreneurial types who have left long-term roles in the corporate world. Our experience working both with large corporates and start-ups ensures that we understand where you have come from, and can help you get where you want to go.

Our team understands that legal advice for start-ups or smaller businesses needs to be proportionate in cost and value, particularly at a time when you have other key priorities. We can offer a competitive fixed-fee arrangement which will provide your with greater certainty and transparency over costs.

Legal risks for start-ups and small businesses

Unfortunately, many start-ups decide to put off taking legal advice, either seeing it as too expensive or simply placing it low down on the list of priorities. Although many will have the intention to deal with the “legals” at some point, it is often too late. Three fundamental problems arise all too commonly for start-ups:-

  • Failing to understand not only the importance of limiting personal liability but also, if you are going into business with someone else, having a carefully-considered shareholder or partnership agreement in place.
  • Not having the right contracts in place – this does not just mean having documents drawn up, it also means having an understanding of the basics of contract law and what can and will go wrong if you have contracts you don’t understand.
  • Struggling to attract funding without first obtaining legal advice. Lenders will assess your credibility and attitude to risk; if it appears that you haven’t been informed of and assessed the possible risks to your business or that you haven’t properly planned ahead, this can be a significant risk factor for lenders. Initial capital and subsequent cashflow are, of course, crucial for all businesses.

Legal advice and services we offer to small and start-up businesses

  • General small business training and advice;
  • Terms and conditions of trading;
  • Shareholder or partnership agreements;
  • Lease advice – for commercial premises;
  • Advice on personal guarantees, which may be required by banks or other lenders;
  • How to protect your interests when negotiating with third parties – such as when buying goods;
  • Protecting your business ideas and intellectual property;
  • Data protection and general GDPR compliance advice, including relationships with both data processors and data controllers;
  • Advice regarding the engagement of consultants, such as IT contractors, including potential contract terms and pitfalls;
  • Advice concerning websites being developed and hosted by web designers or developers, such as key contract terms you should insist on;
  • Employment law advice;
  • Structuring your business – whether your best option is a limited company, partnership (limited or not) or group company structure, we can advise on the incorporation process and company law issues, such as amending the standard articles of association or other supplemental documents; and
  • Regulatory compliance – we can ensure your business has the required licences to operate in a particular market.

Our mission is to develop a long-lasting, ongoing relationship with our clients and to ensure that we are seen not as a necessary evil but as a sounding board who can be turned to for general advice whenever it is required.

Contact our corporate and commercial law experts today

To talk to one of our corporate or commercial solicitors please call us today on 03456 381381 or email