You’ve been inspired to set up your innovative, original and game-changing business – now it’s time to get to work and watch it flourish. We have identified some of the key things you need to consider to protect your game changing business.
The T & Cs
As a business owner, it’s time to make sure your terms and conditions protect you and your business. T & Cs generally kick in when there is a problem: there’s a defect in the product or the service you are providing or some failure in delivery. Customers can dispute payment made or refunds dues. There are innumerable areas of uncertainty here if your terms and conditions are not up to scratch so consider carefully what you need. Think about whether a standard set of terms and conditions will work for your business or whether you may wish to produce something a bit more bespoke for the particular customer, order or event.
Don’t forget as well the standard legislation you are bound by and its implied terms – get familiar with what is required of you by the Sales of Goods Act and the Sales of Goods and Services Act if your customers might have recourse to them. It is highly likely that your business will have some kind of online function. If you are selling online then the E-commerce Directive and the Distance Selling Regulations also applies. This covers areas such as commercial communications between you and your customers, the information that needs to be provided where contracts are concluded by electronic means and how orders should be placed online.
Protect your IP
Is your USP your amazing product, creative output or catchy branding and advertising? You may have an original formula, invention or technique of production that needs commercial protection by registration as a patent or industrial design right. You may have created something that possesses inherent copyright. This covers a broad range – literary works to music to architecture to computer software. Does your business have some kind of branding that acts as a recognisable badge of your business? Consider applying for a trademark. On the flipside, are you about to or have you inadvertently infringed any of the above? Take steps to rectify this before becoming embroiled in any expensive legislation.
Your business is growing and you have a valued workforce. Think about you obligations and potential pitfalls throughout the employee lifecycle. Under the Equality Act discrimination can be found on a plethora of grounds. No one is suggesting you might actively discriminate but consider how a disgruntled employee might present a case. Similarly, consider the possible rights and remedies for any employee you may want to dismiss and avoid the costs and reputational damage of defending an employment tribunal. Remember your statutory obligations and an employees’ right to a contract, parental and sickness leave and have the necessary systems in place to manage these. And if you’ve hit the 50 employees mark you need to keep your workforce informed about the economic situation of the business and any substantial changes to work organisation and contractual relations.
Hannah Newell – Corporate and Commercial LawBrief for LawBite. If you have any question on any of the above, Hannah would be happy to assist. You can ask her a question using our business legal advice form.