If you feel like the time has come for you to finally leave your 9-5 job in favor of being self-employed, then sit down, pick up a pen and a sheet of paper, and prepare your first business checklist. The long list of requirements you need to fulfill can be taxing to deal with, but with experienced corporate lawyers in London or other areas in the UK, you can share the burden. With legal assistance, you can find out the exact requirements you need much faster, such as the necessary licenses or permits required for the type of business you’d venture in. Furthermore, legal involvement is essential for your business to be deemed legitimate.
That said, here are all the legal matters when starting a business in the UK:
1. Business Registration
If you’re a foreigner, verify if you are legally allowed to start a business. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, you need to ensure that you have all the necessary immigration documents.
When getting your business registered, you need to determine its structure. There are three main business structures in the UK, namely, sole trader, limited company, and partnership. Registration processes vary depending on your chosen structure.
2. Business Name
Sole traders can use their names as their business name if they prefer it. It’s their business address that needs to be registered for tax purposes and to join the UK’s company register. Limited companies are the ones that need to have their names registered; for example, if you want to have legal rights over your business name, then you should register it as a trademark. Before deciding on a name, make sure it’s legally available.
3. Business Address
Running your startup from home also needs permission from your landlord (if you’re renting) and other various agencies. If you’re renting or buying a property to run your business in, business rates apply. Considering that your business is a startup and thus a small one, you might be allowed to apply for a discount or not pay at all. Check your local government agencies or legal counsel if you need to allot a budget for business rates.
4. Licenses and Permits
Depending on the nature of your business, you might need to obtain licenses or permits from your local government. Make sure to consult a lawyer on the requirements you need to fulfill if, for example, you’re an importer, exporter, retailer, etc.
5. Employer Requirements
If you’re hiring personnel for your business, you need to be aware of all the legal responsibilities you need to carry out, such as payroll, National Insurance, and pensions for those eligible. You also need to familiarise yourself with all employment laws in the UK and abide by them.
6. Outsourcing Personnel
If you’re not directly hiring staff but instead getting help from freelancers or agency workers, you’d also need to fulfill a particular set of responsibilities. Again, a lawyer’s advice might be necessary, especially in determining everything you need to ensure that your personnel will be treated and compensated fairly.
7. Intellectual Property Concerns
Intellectual property rights are essential when you have your own business. It prevents other people from stealing your ideas, concepts, the name of your products, its design or appearance, etc. A lawyer will help you have the right type of intellectual property protection, such as trademarks, copyright, designs, and patent. You will be allowed to make money out of your intellectual properties, so make sure to include this matter in your checklist before getting started.
Starting a business, especially without experience, can be daunting. But the help of a reliable lawyer will make the journey more manageable and organized. Their knowledge and expertise are an investment. However, even with their availability, you still shouldn’t forego learning things on your own. Regularly check out official government websites and other reading materials to be consistently updated with all legal business matters.