Business, Corporate and Property Law
We assist new business owners and entrepreneurs start up, manage and grow businesses, including online businesses.
Because our offices are not located in the CBD our rates are substantially lower, often up to 20% lower, than most commercial law firms.
In our experience sometimes clients shop around with quotes that we provide, which of course is their right. We always tell clients, therefore, if they receive what they think is a better price they can forward it to us and we will match it.
The following points will help you to set-up and manage your new business and any new online business:
1. What legal structure best fits your business?
When you start up a new business it is important to decide what business entity structure will be most suitable for you. Five factors you need to consider before deciding on the structure of your business are:
- Gaining the most effective tax management i.e not paying any more tax than you are required to.
- Protecting your assets in the event you are sued
- The cost of setting up the business and maintaining the structure in years to come.
- Agreement with your partners on who is to do what and how disputes will be resolved.
- Succession planning and general flexibility as some structures are easier to exit than others.
It is common practice that new businesses are set up with the one of the following structures:
- As a sole trade
- As a company
- As a partnership; or
- Through a trust.
Different structures have different legal requirements, liability limitations as well as tax consequences. We can provide you with information on the positives, as well as the negatives, for each of the different structures noted above.
2. Agreements with business partners
It is vital that you work out the jobs that you and your business partners will carry out and have a clear understanding of who will do what. This will significantly reduce the likelihood of disputes in the future.
Once you have come to an understanding with your business partners as to each other’s responsibilities then you should formalise the agreement. We can draft an agreement for you so that all parties have a clear understanding of their role in the business.
In ascertaining each of the business partners’ responsibilities, it is important to consider:
- Who will do what tasks?
- How will the partners effectively make decisions relating to the business?
- What action shall be taken in circumstances when a business partner wants to leave the business?
- What will happen in the event one of the partners dies or becomes unable to carry out his/her responsibilities as a business partner?
- What circumstances will see a business partner being required to leave the business?
3. Registration of the business name
An important part of starting up a business is considering the name that the business will operate under. The name that you eventually decide upon, will need to be registered and similarly, if you operate under a company name, that will need to be registered as well.
4. Terms and Conditions
All businesses need good terms and conditions to protect them and to provide security.
Some of the key issues which are commonly included within terms and conditions are:
- Price and Payment Terms
- Terms of Delivery of Goods
- Refunds and Returns Policy
- How to Place an Order for Goods and/or Services
- Governing Law and Jurisdiction
- Business Warranties
- Limits on Business Liabilities
- Restrictions of Website Use
- Use of Confidential Information
- Ownership of Intellectual Property
We can assist you in drafting terms and conditions that are specific to you, your business and the specific industry in which you operate
5. Licence Agreements
Licence agreements allow a party to use the plant and equipment and intellectual property of another party for a fee without obtaining ownership of that intellectual property.
Licence agreements can be used within a group of companies. For example, a holding company in the group could be the owner of the intellectual property with subsidiary or related companies entering into licence agreements for the use of that intellectual property for a fee. These agreements protect the valuable intellectual property of the group from third party claims in the event of insolvency of a subsidiary and have taxation benefits by allowing the subsidiaries to claim the costs of the licence agreement as cost of business.
Even plant and equipment can be protected if it is owned by one of your companies and then licenced to another of your companies that trades. The company that trades should not own the equipment so it can’t be seized if the trading company has legal problems.
6. Registration of Domain Names
Your URL or Domain Name is the address used on the internet for your website. Typically your Domain Name would include your business or company name.
Your domain name is an important part of your business’ identity which allows your customers to differentiate your business from your competition and identifies your business to your customers.
We are able to work with you to register your domain name.
7. Registering your business for Tax Purposes
When starting up a new business you will need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), a Tax File Number (TFN) and you will also need to register for GST for tax purposes. Depending on the nature and structure of the business, there may be other requirements in addition to those already mentioned however we can advise you on any such requirements.
8. Leasing of Premises
If you are going to lease premises for your business then there are many important factors that you need to carefully consider. Some of the important points are noted below:
- Are the premises you are considering leasing the best suited to your business’ needs?
- What is included within the lease for fit out or refurbishment requirements for the premises?
- Once your business is up and running, will it be able to maintain the rent and other costs payable pursuant to the lease?
- Do the initial and subsequent terms of the lease coincide with the future plans of your business? Do you need to consider including an option to renew within the lease?
- If necessary, are you able to exit the lease early and if so, on what grounds?
Upon the establishment of a new business it is vitally important that you weigh up the varying types of insurances that are available and consider which type(s) are applicable to your new business and which types may be legally required depending on the industry which your new business operates within. Many of the common insurances are noted below:
- Public Liability Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Indemnity Insurance
- Building and Contents Insurance
- Income Protection Insurance
- Death and Permanent Disability Insurance