Starting a new business

You can also view this video on Vimeo or Youtube

Setting up your own business involves making some of the biggest decisions of your life. And before your new venture is up and running, there are even more day-to-day decisions to be made. A solicitor can guide you through this tricky process, protecting your business and helping you avoid costly pitfalls. With the legal and financial issues watertight, you can focus on what you do best - building a successful business.

Business structure

One of the first, and most important, decisions you will make is the structure that best suits your business needs. The options - sole trader, partnership, limited company or limited liability partnership - involve different legal requirements, for instance, when making agreements and keeping company records. To help avoid disputes, it is important to set out the relationships between those involved in running the business. Franchising can also be an attractive option. Your solicitor can give independent advice and assistance on business structures and their legal requirements.

Finance

Many of those starting a business need to borrow money to do so. If so, the lender may want security over the business premises or other private property. A solicitor can help identify different sources of finance, explain the terms that lenders are offering, outline the risks involved and help with negotiations.

Premises

It is important to find the right premises, whether leasing a shop, renting an office or running a business from your laptop. But problems can arise, for instance, understanding the terms of a lease or finalising a property purchase. Solicitors understand the legal complexities and are familiar with local property markets.

Taxes and insurance

New businesses must register with HM Revenue & Customs and are expected to pay national insurance. Other tax issues may arise, for instance, over VAT, inheritance tax planning and trading abroad.

A range of different types of insurance is available to help businesses protect against risks. A solicitor can guide you through these issues.

Employing staff

The rules for employing staff are complicated - and constantly changing. Solicitors can give specialist advice on the rights of employees and employers, drawing up contracts and dealing with any disputes that occur.

Disputes

Problems can arise for a number of reasons - contractual disputes with suppliers, recovering bad debt, disagreement with business colleagues or associates - so it is vital to receive professional advice and, if necessary, representation. Solicitors have the expertise to draw up terms of business and review contracts. More serious disputes do not necessarily end up in court. Your solicitor can help you avoid disputes in the first place or, if need be, arrange mediation.

Further information

Whatever the legal issue - from data protection and product liability to advising what you can say in promotional material, protecting your ideas and applying for licences - a Scottish solicitor can help. Use our website to find a solicitor.

Woman finding a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland website

Find a solicitor

Search our database to find contact details for solicitors and law firms throughout Scotland.

Search for a solicitor now