Starting a business - tips, tricks and common pitfalls
Starting a new business is an exciting time, but it is important not to forget that there are also a lot of details to cover when you are getting things set up, as well as ongoing legal and governance considerations.
This week, lawyers from Lander & Rogers ran a workshop with members of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA). The workshop covered tips, tricks and common pitfalls to be aware of when first starting a business.
During the workshop, our presenters covered a range of issues, from business structuring, to HR considerations, risk management, protecting your IP and - very importantly - how not to get sued!
Melisa Chan started out by looking at some of the key things to think about when setting up a business, including types of business structures, ongoing corporate governance requirements and other things to watch out for as a business owner, such as ASIC notifications and risks around implied/ostensible authority and guarantees.
If your business will employ staff, then you will need to be aware of your rights and obligations as an employer, so Annika Anderson had advice for new business owners on how to protect yourself and your business from common types of employee claims and some general guidance on how to minimise employment risks to your business.
Natale Ilardo concluded the seminar with advice on protecting your brand and IP, a discussion on internet defamation and a discussion around the top causes of litigation and how best to avoid them.
Host and MC for the evening, Jodylee Bartal from our Family & Relationship Law team, said that it was also important for people starting a new business to think about what would happen to the business if they separated from their spouse/partner.
"In other words, if you are a business owner and you are in a relationship, you might want to keep the business out of the pool of divisible assets.
"If you are in a business partnership, you and your business partner should have complimentary Binding Financial Agreements (BFA's) with your respective spouses. This is to prevent the business potentially being roped into the other business partner's matrimonial litigation if they separate from their spouse."
Jodylee said that BFA's are now regularly forming part of a broader structuring and financial health check for business owners. "We get asked to sit in on these meetings with our clients' accountants and business advisers all the time," she said. "Family lawyers are being used both in the planning and separation stages to identify and bring together a number of legal issues."