How to set up and run a small business

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A limited company is by definition limited in its risk. Its legal status separates the business from its owner’s personal assets.  So for a limited company not to trade mark its company name and brand is to increase business risks that could be avoided relatively easily and cheaply.
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You see County Court Judgments, or CCJs, mentioned on debt-related adverts all the time, but what are they, and how do you enforce one?
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There is a wind of change blowing through employment law landscape.  Employers need to think carefully during all stages of the employment relationship before taking any steps.
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Before online shopping became the norm, fake goods were widespread but because you could see and feel the products before buying them you were able to ascertain their providence (or at least try to).  This is not the case anymore.  Anyone can sell on eBay or Amazon, for instance, and pass off fake goods as the real thing.

Companies selling online without a registered trade mark are therefore at a high risk of unscrupulous competitors stealing their identity to sell counterfeit products. Continue…

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If you own a small business you need to keep paper work to a minimum but not cut corners when it comes to employment law. But without any in-house HR support this can be easier said than done.
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Chris Hutchings, partner at Hamlins LLP, looks at the potential pitfalls and benefits of using social media sites for business purposes.
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Picture the scene. You’ve spent years developing an amazing new product, the likes of which has never been seen before.

It will truly revolutionise the market and give your competitors many sleepless nights with agonising worry.

But it all depends on you shocking the world by announcing your new product at the annual trade fair. If word gets out before, it will ruin all your hard work and give your competitors a head start.
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The Summer holidays are fast approaching and if you are an employer, you may soon be inundated with holiday forms from your workforce, as staff begin to prepare for their holidays.
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Benjamin Hopps of Sykes Anderson LLP Solicitors gives advice on how to make sure your standard terms and conditions of business are incorporated into the agreement between you and your customers.
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If you are starting a new business, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of securing trade mark protection.
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More and more business owners now have their own websites. With the amount of content now available online, how do you copyright the articles and words you publish on your business site?
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The UK’s 3 million family businesses account for over 30pc of gross domestic product, provide 65% of the 4.5 million private sector businesses, employ 9.5 million and hand the Government £47 billion in tax receipts a year, 10% of the annual total.
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In this article, Guy Hollebon from Bevans Solicitors looks at some key legal risks that can affect small businesses and how to manage and minimise such risks. Guy has approached the matter as an expert lawyer and also as a small business owner, providing both legal and practical tips.
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Businesses encounter an endless stream of paperwork that, for one reason or another, can represent some kind of ‘record’.
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Copyright law is one of the key areas of intellectual property protection. In the United Kingdom, protection applies automatically once the work is created, so there is nothing further that needs to be done by an owner in order to obtain all the benefits of protection. In this article we step through each different types of work that are protected, and explain the extent of the monopoly granted.
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Business is all about partnerships – public-private partnerships, supplier relationships, collaboration with colleagues and competitors, and of course the way you work with your customers.

So it’s never a good thing when you find your closest partnership – that with the fellow leaders of your business – has begun to break down.

It’s the same old story – you start out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of optimism, but even if your business is successful, the cracks can start to show when you try to decide where to go next.

Without a partnership agreement in place, it’s hard to tell who’s actually got the decision-making power, and companies can collapse in a matter of minutes when it all comes to a head.

Getting Out

If you do not have a partnership agreement, and you are the unhappy individual in a business relationship, it’s usually quite easy to leave.

You may be able to get out of the business simply by giving ‘notice’ – which can be very short notice indeed – to the other people with whom you formed the company and have been working.

A partnership agreement prevents this from being so easy, by setting out rules for introducing new partners, and for those who choose to leave.

It will usually govern the financial implications of one person leaving, or of bringing the whole business to an end, along with any related freehold or leasehold property issues.

Further Protection

You can formalise your business arrangements in different ways, such as by forming a limited company, which creates an entity in its own right, and not just a partnership of individuals.

Again, without a limited company or partnership agreement in place, the individual members of the company’s management will usually be thought of as being in a ‘partnership at will’, a situation that can be brought to an end quickly, with little notice given to the remaining partners.

If you are the one who chooses to leave, having one or more of these formal arrangements in place can help you to avoid losing out on your share of the business, as you may be able to claim a portion of any capital or profits that have accrued while you have been involved.

Creating a Partnership Agreement

A partnership agreement is an important document that can have significant impacts on your own financial situation, and on the future of a business that you choose to leave, or where you are one of the remaining partners.

This makes it important to make sure that the wording of your document is spot-on, so you might want to get a lawyer involved in drawing up the first draft and covering all of the possible issues that might arise.

Remember too that the partnership agreement is there to protect everyone involved, and to protect the business as an entity in its own right, so if one of your colleagues is reluctant to enter into a formal agreement of this kind, you should be asking some very serious questions about why that is.

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Following on from our recent article on how to find the right small business solicitor, Dr Yuri Rapoport, of the new consumer offering “Rapoport’s Directory”, believes that you shouldn’t be paying to educate your solicitor.
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When running your business, there may be times when you’ll need to obtain legal advice. Quite often, a solicitor will be called upon to review a contract, or to provide a legal opinion on a wide variety of business issues.
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Of all the many things that can disrupt or wreck a business, a change in ownership must be near the top of the list. When family politics are added to the mix of a process that is usually fraught with difficulties in any case, it can be an explosive combination.
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Stephan Weber of Sykes Anderson LLP discusses the new statutory provisions under the Companies Act 2006 in respect of derivative claims by shareholders
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