When we think of lawyers, we often imagine old, stuffy, boring and expensive people to go and see. While this may have been true sometime ago, seeing a lawyer doesn’t need to be a painful experience (we even have online solicitors now).

In fact, if you’re a small business, then having a legal expert in your corner is integral to your business’s success! The legal word and the business landscape are tied in together- you can’t have one without the other. 

Let’s take a closer look at why every small business should have a good solicitor they can turn to. 

How Can A Solicitor Help Me With My Business?

As a small business, your solicitor can help you set up, run and protect your business in a way that is legally compliant. 

When you decide to run a business, you opt to take on a number of responsibilities. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a large corporation or a small business from home, all businesses need to comply with the regulations that apply to them. However, it can be hard to determine exactly what regulations apply and how to go about abiding by them. A Regulatory Compliance Solicitor can help simplify this process for you.That way, you run your business with the assurance that you’re doing everything necessary to follow the law. 

Although, before you get into running your business, you’ll need to set your business up with strong foundations. For instance, if you’re starting a business as a sole trader, then you will need to Register Your Business Name. If starting a company is more your cup of tea, then there’s even more legal considerations to plan for. Registering A Company can be complex as there’s a lot of regulations to follow, so it’s good to have a legal expert helping you through the process. When setting up your company, there’ll be additional legal considerations like a Founders Term Sheet or drawing up a Company Constitution. A legal professional can help you sort through this and ensure your company is all good in the business world. 

Then, once you’ve got your company all set up, you’ll need some well drafted legal agreements to keep it secured and make sure everything runs smoothly! We’ll discuss this in more depth later, so keep reading to know more. 

What Laws Apply To Small Businesses? 

As we noted earlier, there’s a number of aws that impact the way every small business will operate. A good solicitor can help you navigate and prepare for the legal landscape, so your business isn’t caught off guard by anything. We’ve summarised some of the key legal considerations most small businesses will need to be aware of here. 

Australian Consumer Laws 

Australian Consumer Laws (ACL) exist not only to protect the consumers your business interacts with but your business’s rights as well. Having a sound understanding of the ACL can help you navigate your rights and responsibilities better. As a business, you want to make sure you’re fulfilling your duties perfectly- if you’ve found to have breached the ACL, there can be serious legal penalties. Getting an ACL Consultation by a legal expert can help you gain the understanding needed to conduct business matters in a way that is legally compliant with the ACL. 

Privacy Laws

For businesses that operate online, you will need to know what privacy regulations your business needs to be considering. Let’s say your business has an annual turnover of more than $3 million or it collects information such as names, addresses and phone numbers of clients from the business website. If this is the case, then you will need to have a Privacy Policy in place, as required by the Privacy Act and Australian Privacy Principles (APP). According to Australian privacy regulations, Australians have a right to know what’s being done with the data that is collected off the internet. A privacy policy is an essential legal document for most businesses, so it’s important to have a legal expert draft one up that can check all the right requirements. 

Moreover, if your business is going to be operating outside of Australia, then you’ll need to understand the privacy regulations of those regions. In some cases, you might need a privacy policy drafted that meets the regulations of another country, such as a GDPR Privacy Policy.  

A good solicitor will be happy to help you out with this! 

Employment Laws 

When you first start your business, it might be just you. Then, as your progress you may get to hire staff to help out with the business. This is often a great sign that your business is growing. As exciting as it is to be hiring employees, it’s important to be aware of your duties as an employer. 

As an employer, you’ll need to think about things like, minimum wage regulations, employee work hours, work from home requirements and creating a safe working environment for your employees. It will be a good idea to get some solid Employment Contracts drafted and have clear Workplace Policies outlined, so you can foster a positive work environment. 

An experienced Employment Solicitor can help you determine the employment laws that will apply to your business and the best way to comply with them.  

What Kind Of Legal Advice Should I Seek For My Small Business?

So, when you talk to a solicitor, exactly what do you need to be asking them? The answer is, anything that comes to mind! There’s a lot of laws and regulations that apply to businesses and you will likely need help figuring out exactly which ones apply to yours. No two businesses are the same, therefore it’s always best to go for personalised legal advice as opposed to making decisions based on general info. 

Get A Solicitor To Draft The Right Contracts 

When you talk to a solicitor, it’s a good idea to discuss legal agreements as well. It’s important to have a good discussion about the right contracts that can help protect your business. A few legal agreement you can consider are:

The exact agreements your business will need depend largely on your business operations and unique circumstances. Getting the advice of a legal expert and then having the right contracts drafted by your solicitor is the best way to go. 

Intellectual Property Solicitors 

For many business owners, their intellectual property (IP) is a pivotal part of their venture. If you’re talking to a solicitor, then it’s wise to ask them about the best ways to protect your IP. Things like getting your business logo Trade Marked or Licensing Your Copyright are important ways to secure your business’s brand identity. Perhaps, you just need an overall IP Health Check by a solicitor that specialises in the area. 

Whatever your concerns are, it’s important to seek the help of a solicitor, as IP can be a pretty tricky area of law. Not to worry though, an Expert In IP Law can help clear things up and make sure your business’s IP is well secured.  

Do I Need A Solicitor To Sell My Small Business?

Solicitors aren’t just handy for setting up and running a business- they’re important if you ever decide to sell your business. Business Sales aren’t a simple process, they require a lot of careful planning, negotiations and well written contracts. There’s also a lot of elements to a business sale, such as an asset sale or a share sale. So, if selling a business is on your to do list, one of the first things you should probably cross off is getting a really good solicitor to help out. 

Next Steps 

There’s a lot of legal considerations involved in starting a business. A good solicitor can help you sort through it all. That way, the legal matters can be taken care of while you focus on running your business. To summarise what we’ve discussed:  

  • Having a solicitor for a small business is essential for various reasons 
  • Solicitors can assist in legal compliance for business setup, regulations, and contracts 
  • Key legal areas for small businesses include Australian Consumer Laws, Privacy Laws, and Employment Laws 
  • Personalised legal advice is crucial due to the uniqueness of each business 
  • Legal agreements to consider include a Supply Agreement, Business Terms and Conditions and Intellectual Property protection 
  • Solicitors are valuable when selling a small business due to complex negotiations and contracts 
  • A solicitor can help manage legal matters while business owners focus on running their businesses

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

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