Effective communication can be a pretty big determinant of success, no matter what industry you’re in. However, communication strategies and tools need to be implemented carefully, with the right ideas. 

Many business owners understand this and choose to seek the expertise of communications consultants. A good communications consultant can help businesses implement a working game plan to improve the way they get their message across, whether it be to customers or people within their organisation. 

If you have the necessary experience, qualifications and skills in communications or marketing, then starting your own communications consulting business might be for you. Keep reading to learn more about the legal considerations when starting your own communications consultancy – that way, you’re off to the best start possible. 

What Is A Communications Consulting Business? 

When we think of communications, a lot of different things can come to mind. After all, it is a pretty broad term. Therefore, it can be hard to pin down exactly what a communications consultant does (and figure out whether you fit the type or not). 

The services each communications consultant offers will differ based on their own niche. Nonetheless, a communication consultant’s primary purpose is to strategically develop plans for an organisation’s external and internal communication. That means, anything ranging from social media posts to the public or how they handle back-and-forth with a third party. Essentially, a communications consultant is involved with the marketing and public relations side of things. 

How Do You Become A Communications Consultant? 

In order to become a communications consultant, it’s important to have certain skills and experience. Most communications consultants have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field (i.e a communications degree) and have worked in the industry for some time. They are often well-versed in writing, speaking and strategising for particular purposes. 

Before you dive into the world of opening up your own communications consulting business, it’s important to take your time to attain the relevant knowledge and experience. That way, you’ll be in the best position possible to help your clients once you open up your business. 

How To Start A Consultant Communications Business: A Quick Legal Guide 

When you start any kind of business, the legal factors are going to be some of the most important considerations. At times, many business owners tend to underestimate just how much the business industry and the legal one overlap with one another. This oversight can end up being pretty costly if you’re not careful! 

Not to worry though, we’ve prepared a quick guide on some of the key legal considerations you’ll need to take into account when starting your own communications consulting business. 

Choosing The Right legal Structure And Registering Your Communications Consultancy 

The first step to getting your communications consulting business off the ground and running, is to get it registered. Remember, you can’t start any official business operations until your business is actually registered, so this part should be at the top of your priority list. 

To register your business, you will need to pick out a legal structure for your business. This is a pretty big decision, as it will determine the foundations for your business, so it’s important to make a well informed choice. Most businesses in Australia are registered as sole traders, partnership or a company. All three of these structures are pretty different from one another and have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.  

Here’s what you need to know about them: 

Sole Trader 

  • Registration is simple – you just need to get an ABN from the Australian Business Register. The whole process can be completed online. 
  • If you’re using a name other than your personal one, then remember to register a Business Name
  • Being a sole trader means you will be personally liable for the entire business, essentially offering you very little legal protection. 

Partnership 

  • To start a partnership, all partners will need to get their individual ABN’s.  
  • Again, if a name other than the partners personal names are being used then you will need to register a business name.
  • A partnership should be secured through the right legal documentation, such as a Partnership Agreement for added legal security. 
  • Much like a sole trader business, in a partnership all partners are personally liable for the business. 

Company 

  • To Register A Company, you need to figure out things like company governance directors and shareholders. Once you have all your details gathered, you’ll need to register your company with ASIC. 
  • Running a company means keeping up with ASICS ongoing obligations, such as annual auditing. 
  • A company is considered a legal entity on its own, meaning it has many legal rights that a person would. For example, a company can own or sell property, be involved in court proceedings, earn profits and work up a debt. 
  • Due to the legal status companies are able to hold, your personal liability will be limited – providing you with more legal protection. 

As we mentioned, each legal structure has its own drawbacks. Overall, if your consulting business is a serious business endeavour, then a company structure is likely going to be the best option for you. Eleven though registering a company is slightly more complex and time consuming, a company structure can ensure your business is set up for success right from the start. Getting a legal expert to help out with setting up your company is the best way to go, as they can ensure everything is done correctly. 

To learn more about business legal structures, click here

What Legal Documents Do I Need To Start A Communications Consulting Business

When your business is registered and ready to go, you’ll need to make sure it’s protected with the right legal documents. The right legal documents can limit your liabilities, set expectations, define responsibilities, implement necessary boundaries and secure your revenue streams. Taking the time to get expertly drafted legal documents is never a bad idea. 

A few legal documents you may consider getting include: 

Obviously, the exact legal documents you’ll be needing will depend on your individual business. Talk to one of our legal experts today to see what legal agreements are best for your communications consulting business. 

Legal Considerations For A Communications Consulting Business 

Being aware of the legal regulations that impact your business can help you be more legally  compliant. Not doing so can lead to penalties, that’s why it’s best to get ahead of what you need to know before helping clients.

As the owner of a communications consulting business, some of the main legal regulations you’ll need to take into consideration include: 

Consumer law highlights the responsibilities you will have towards your clients, while protecting some of the vulnerabilities you have as a small business. Employment laws ensure any employees you may hire in the future are being treated daily and finally, data and privacy laws are there to protect any private information your business may have access to. 

Understanding what your rights and duties are under the regulations that affect your communications consulting business can help you uphold them. For example, if your business has a website then there’s a good chance you’ll need to have a Privacy Policy in place – a legal expert can help you draft a strong document that meets all the requirements. 

Talking to an expert in Regulatory Compliance  can help you gain a better understanding of the legal landscape you’re working with, from there you can take the necessary steps to be a legally compliant  business. 

So, At What Point Should I See A Lawyer For My Communications Consulting Business? 

In the legal world, prevention is always better than a cure. Therefore, don’t wait to see a legal expert only when something goes wrong. Instead, you should be seeking legal help to prevent things from turning upside down. 

The more proactive you are as a business owner, the better secured your business will be. Therefore, we recommend seeing a legal expert as soon as you’re serious about getting into business. 

There’s a good chance you’ll need a helpful lawyer by your side the deeper you get into the exciting world of business. A Sprintlaw Membership can ensure you have access to just that. 

Next Steps 

Starting your communications consulting business is an exciting move, however it’s crucial you take care of all the legal considerations as you set up your business. To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • Effective communication is crucial for success in any industry, leading many businesses to seek the expertise of communications consultants
  • Communications consultants strategically develop plans for both external and internal communication, including aspects such as social media and public relations
  • To become a communications consultant, one typically needs a bachelor’s degree in communications, relevant skills and industry experience
  •  Legal considerations are essential when starting a communications consulting business, including choosing the right legal structure (sole trader, partnership or company) and registering the business
  • Legal documents, such as a Consultancy Agreement, Disclaimer, Website Terms and Conditions, Employment Agreement, and Shareholders Agreement, are crucial to protect the business
  • Compliance with consumer law, employment regulations and data and privacy laws is important for a communications consulting business to avoid penalties
  • Seeking legal advice early in the process, rather than waiting for issues to arise is recommended to proactively secure the business and ensure legal compliance

If you would like a consultation on starting a communications consultant business, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

About Sprintlaw

Sprintlaw's expert lawyers make legal services affordable and accessible for business owners. We're Australia's fastest growing law firm and operate entirely online.

5.0
(based on Google Reviews)
Do you need legal help?
Get in touch now!

We'll get back to you within 1 business day.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Related Articles
Small Business Survival Guide 2024
Is An ABN A Legal Requirement?
What Does The Fair Work Ombudsman Do?
How To Start An Advertising Company