Start-Up Services

Start-up businesses have an extremely difficult time of balancing quality legal company impute with their bootstrapping budgets for their immediate start-up objectives. Bootstrapping is about using your savings or income to fund your start-up idea. Where if you don’t have enough to hire talents with complementary skills, you can minimize or eliminate major costs by investing your own time in these areas.

Today, the barriers to launching a start-up are at their lowest. With open source technology and low-cost cloud-based tools, the cost of launching a start-up today is much lower than it used to be twenty years ago. No longer do start-ups need an office or long-term contracts to launch. The best talents can be accessed with a few clicks. Even entrepreneurs who do not have the technical skills to build a product, can now launch a product by using no-code tools which may be just enough to test their start-up ideas and to potentially build traction and attract investors.

 

With this in mind, beginning a business needs careful planning not only for sales and marketing, but also to crucially ensure the legitimacy of the enterprise, its dealings and to eliminate the legal risks for a seedling company.  Most new business owners make the biggest mistake of not engaging with legal services which frequently results in the start-up being derailed before it commences operations.

 

Every aspect of running a business is governed by law. Entrepreneurs are lawfully required to know about all the regulations which affects their business.

 

LegalRoad has compiled a list of significant legal risks faced by start-ups today.

 

  1. Incorrect selection of the appropriate legal structure at the formation of the new business

The first most important decisions for a new business owner is to select the best appropriate legal model for the start-up. The legal business model chosen can have an impact on the funding options for the company, its tax responsibilities, and the personal liability of the owners. The appropriate business model can help to save tax, protect the personal assets of the owners, and encourage investment and funding.

  1. Absence of a Founders or shareholders agreement

Most start-ups are the combined efforts of more than one individual known as the founders. These creators are instrumental in the inception of the new business which can close before it has had the time to realise its potential when the founders have not clearly delineated each of their roles and responsibilities. A founder’s agreement brings the founders closer by clarifying the ownership and duties of each member within the organisation as well as agreeing how the equity will be dissolved when a member wishes to exit the business.

  1. Failure to protect intellectual property assets

A failure to protect a start-ups fundamental Intellectual Property (IP) assets can lead to grave financial repercussions and possible closure as the start-up lacks a categoric legal basis and financial funding to stop a potentially larger competitor from simply ‘adopting’ the start-up’s IP assets. The start-up simply has not incorporated any lawful shield to prevent such actions. From the outset the start-up must lawfully protect a unique product or idea with a patent and at the same time ensure the brand name, logo, etc. has been secured with trademarks. Copyright laws must also be adhered to secure the start-ups rights to original works of authorship for items such as software, advertising etc. Correctly obtained patents, trademarks, copyrights and authorship will help the start-up safeguard its valuable assets from unauthorised usage and protect its assets being commercially exploiting by competitors.

  1. Incorrect documents used for the sale of business shares

Start-up entrepreneurs sell their business shares to investors in return for funding. The sale of shares by a UK company to investors is guided by the Companies Act 2006. Using unlawful transfer documents to formalise such share sale agreements can lead to heavy financial penalties.

  1. Failure to have lawful business licenses

Every business act falls within the scope of legal regulations. Start-ups must know the licenses and permits they need before they commence to ensure they function within the lawful requirements of the territory they work in.  Entrepreneurs may be vigil to ensure they contain risk for ever evolving regulatory and compliance environments while similarly ensuring the business objectives are achieve and budget restraints are strictly adhered.   

Failure to do so can lead to regulatory non-compliance with follow on serious legal ramifications including heavy financial penalties and even business closure.

  1. Ignorance of applicable tax laws

Ignorance is not a defence to any breach of the law. Entrepreneurs must know about the tax laws applicable to the business model, the timings and various returns to be filed in the jurisdiction where the business is located, as well as the document filing to be maintained for tax purposes. Non-compliance of the relevant tax laws can lead to heavy financial fines and even business closure.

  1. Absence of employee agreements

UK businesses must navigate themselves through a maze of regulatory and compliance considerations when taking on employees. Start-ups are at a crucial development phase and cannot afford to be sloppy or careless over its employment policies, processes and agreements which set out the employee terms & conditions, duties and compensation, as well as the businesses policies on leave, employee benefits, healthcare, etc. A failure to maintain adequate employment documentation and follow regulations can lead to costly litigation claims, along with compensatory pay-outs and even the closure of the business.

  1. Data protection law

All contemporary UK start-ups invest in a website to promote its business. In so doing the business must ensure their website privacy policies protect all personal data as well as the fundamental rights and freedoms of persons related to that data, in accordance to UK legislation. Failure to do so may lead to costly litigation claims against the business and substantial financial penalties. 

OUR START-UP SERVICES: How could your start-up look like tomorrow? TODAY

We truly understand the challenges faced by start-ups as this is the time when specialist legal advice and support is most urgently required but also usually happens to be the time when financial resources are most scarce.

 

LegalRoad assists a range of start-up business models from seasoned entrepreneurs from corporate backgrounds, through to university spin-outs and other student enterprises. The majority of start-ups we work with are tech companies working across a range of sectors including –

 

·       Environmental and “clean” technology

·       Digital media (including mobile applications)

·       Communication technologies

·       Medical devices and digital health technology

·       Education technology

 

LegalRoad provides start-ups with access to our inhouse portfolio of qualified business and commercial lawyers on a fixed fee basis for all your core-business start-up needs as well as to provide you with all your legal support for all your business strategies, challenges and disputes – be that onsite or on a virtual working basis.

 

Wherever possible our goal is to provide you with solid legal advice on a fixed fee arrangement to give you certainty to your legal costs, along with reasonable and flexible payment arrangements, to support the growth of your business during its start-up and scale up phases.

 

LegalRoad will give your start-up the best possible chance of succeeding by placing a specialist seasoned business and commercial lawyer to oversee all your legal requirements who will, wherever possible, also reach out to our extensive network of contacts to help you capitalise on funding and investment opportunities.

 

Our start-up clients also benefit from LegalRoad’s multinational bureau support where we are able to offer a comprehensive range of legal services to support your business needs in the UK and EU via our London based office and our bureau on the French Riviera.

 

LegalRoad offers the following start-up packages to provide legal advice and support to entrepreneurs for a broad range of legal matters –

Living Wills

In the event you become ill and unable to make or communicate decisions for yourself then a Living Will, or also known as an Advance Decision, enables you to record any treatments you do not want to have. The Living Will to refuse treatment will only be used if you can’t make or communicate a decision for yourself.

General Power Of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney, or also known as an Ordinary Power of Attorney must be drafted while you have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. This will ensure your personal choices as to your financial affairs remains valid if for any reason you are unable to act in your own personal capacity.

Lasting Power Of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney is an instrument which provides someone you trust with the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you should lose mental capacity in the future, or if you should choose to no longer make decisions for yourself.

Administration Of Estates

Estate administration is the process of managing a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died. This includes dealing with all of their assets such as personal possessions, property, bank accounts, investments and shares, and paying any applicable Income Tax and Inheritance and distributing the inheritance to the estate’s beneficiaries.

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