Will the end of lock-down be the beginning of a start-up boom? Maybe. The Office for National Statistics reports that the biggest increase in the new businesses in the last decade or so happened in 2016, when austerity was coming to an end.

As we emerge from lockdown and the economy is again looking positive for the future, thanks in some part to the benefit of the estimated £125 billion of lockdown savings, there are signs that 2021-2022 could be a bumper year for start-up businesses.

When starting a business, one of the first decisions is what you are going to use to run it. Most common are for it to just be you personally, or you and your partners (that is as a sole-trader or partnership) or to use something which provides a bit more protection from business debts (a limited company or LLP).

It is vital to know what documents you need for each option and for the business generally, use the energy and goodwill at the start of the journey to have the difficult conversations about how decisions will be made and what will happen if things go wrong.

Also, decide what your customers can expect of you and what you will expect of them, because customers are fundamental to your future success.

When you know what you want the documents to achieve, check out Jacksons’ Commercial Legal Documents tool to find out what you need.

Some of the documents are required (the articles of association of a company, for example), and some are just recommended (a shareholders’ agreement, for example). Bear in mind, that making and documenting these decisions now is incredibly important.

Not only is it then cheaper if you find yourself in a dispute with a partner or customer; we find that businesses which have settled, these decisions are much less likely to end up in a dispute in the first place.

Do not delude yourself, fewer than half of businesses started in 2013 made it to 2018; but do not be too negative either, nearly 90% of start-ups in 2017 made it through their first year.

When it comes to taking on staff, it is not only preferable but a legal requirement that employers provide all workers with a written statement of terms and conditions from the first day of their employment or engagement.

As the written statement will contain the majority of information you would expect to find in a contract of employment or workers agreement, it makes sense to prepare the more comprehensive document along with the necessary policies and procedures which suit your business’ needs.

Our Employment team therefore provide a Start-up Business Package which contains the essential employment documents for new businesses, namely a bespoke template contract and a staff handbook comprising a disciplinary procedure, grievance procedure, equality policy and communications policy.

Start-up Business Package clients also benefit from a discounted hourly rate for six months, allowing them to add policies and procedures to their staff handbook or take advice on other matters at reduced costs.

There is undoubtedly an advantage to starting off on the right footing while also building relationships with professional advisers who understand your business from the outset.

To find out a more about how we can help your business, join us on our webinar with Keith Charlton from FW Capital on June 10, when we’ll be discussing legal and funding tips for new businesses, and keep an ear out for our Start-up focussed ‘What’s The Law’ podcast in May.

David Artley
Solicitor, corporate and commercial
Jacksons Law Firm

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