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Whether you are purchasing an existing business or setting up a new business from scratch, we can advise you to help you make the right legal decisions to help your business become a success.

Setting up your company

The first thing you will need to consider is whether you want to start your business from scratch or purchase the assets and goodwill of a business that has already been established. Alternatively you could take control of a limited company by purchasing the share capital from the shareholders of the company.

The benefit of purchasing an already established business is that someone else has done the hard work of building up a client base and developing a good reputation.

However, purchasing a the assets of an existing business or the shares of an existing limited company can be costly and to save costs you may want to start your business from scratch. You will therefore need to consider what business structure would be right for you. Would a limited company be appropriate, or perhaps a partnership would fit your business needs, alternatively a simple sole trader set up might be most appropriate for you. We can explain the different options and advise on the best one for your business and we can then help you set up the option you choose.

Please see our blog here which gives some brief guidance on things to look out for when purchasing an existing business and its assets.

Business premises

The next step will be to decide where you are going to run your business from.

If you are purchasing an established business then you will want to ensure you can run that business from its current premises. This may involve assigning an existing lease into your name, entering into a new lease with the landlord or even purchasing the freehold of the building.

Please see our blogs here which give some brief guidance on things to look out for when taking on a new lease or looking at the assignment of a lease.

It is important that you fully understand the terms of any lease you are offered and you should therefore seek legal advice before taking on a new or existing lease.

We can advise on all aspects of commercial property law, whether buying or leasing. Please contact our Commercial Property team on 01484 821 500 if you have any queries.

Goods and services

When buying or selling goods and services, it is important to know your legal duties. What difference does it make if you supply to businesses or consumers? What could contract terms mean for your business? What can you put in place now to cover yourself in the future should a dispute with a consumer arise? We can advise you on these points and help you draft any necessary terms and conditions or supply agreements required for your business. Read our blog on the new Consumer Act 2015 which came into force on 1 October 2015.

Employment

An important thing to consider when setting up a new business or purchasing an existing business are the employees of the business.

If you are purchasing an existing business you will need to obtain full information on the employees of the business and ensure that you take legal advice before taking any action with the employees – this applies to both the sellers and purchasers of a business.

Our experienced team of employment solicitors can assist and advise you on your duties when it comes employment matters.

Disagreements and problems

In business you need to plan for all possibilities. Ensuring that you have sufficient agreements in place between you and your business partners, such as a Shareholders Agreement or a Partnership Agreement, can help prevent future disagreements. Prevention is usually better (or cheaper) than the cure.

The above information is simply a brief outline of the legal issues to considered when setting up business. The list is not exhaustive and is not intended to be legal advice. The information is no substitute for specific advice about you personally and we will not be liable to you if you rely on this information.