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					So you want to be a Dragon?
Dragon’s Den is fuelling Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit. Yet while many of us
dream of running our own business, those who take the plunge can face a rocky
ride if they do not get the right advice.

Coming up with a new idea for a business is just the first step. The good news is there
are many success stories – even Alan Sugar and Richard Branson had to start
somewhere.

The bad news is that anyone planning on starting a business faces a mountain of laws
and regulations to abide by, not to mention a complex and heavy-handed tax system
that weighs on UK businesses.

On April 6 this year alone there were 82 relevant pieces of legislation which came into
force that businesses could affect your business. That is a lot of law to contend with
alongside any budding business tyro’s other tasks involved with starting-up, it can be a
real headache.

The CBI predicts that over the next three years business-related taxes will increase by
£4 billion. On top of that, thousands of new businesses fail, so getting it right is essential.

One of the reasons many businesses fail is for that is a lack of planning beforehand. A
solicitor will be able to answer the questions to help you decide to pursue your business
ambitions.

Getting a solicitor on board early on will help impress the bank manager or other
investor, and show you are serious about your business and have a legally sound plan.
Now, more than ever, a legal eagle is essential for anyone starting a business.


 Planning ahead – what questions do you need to consider?
        Whose name should the business operate under?
        Do you need a business premises? If so, can you afford the rent?
        How much capital do you need and how can you get it?
        Do you need a license of some kind to run your business
        If employing staff, what legal matters must you consider?
        Is your business eligible for a grant?


It is not just a case of going to the bank manager with a business plan up your sleeve
and securing the capital to start up without any fuss. Of course, a visit to the bank will be
in order, but before that and afterwards, it is essential to get advice on the questions you
need answered from a legal professional.

The maze of red tape businesses now face make it almost impossible to start a new
venture without bringing in a legal expert, not only to explain what the laws require from
you, but also to help you calculate costs.
Solicitors can help you out in other areas too. Today’s solicitor can be a one-stop-shop
for a number of services for anyone trying to get their business off the ground.

What many people do not realise is that when it comes to legal advice, prevention is
cheaper than cure, as well as less time-consuming and stressful.

A solicitor can help you decide whether the business should trade in your name or
through a company. They will advise on the various options for securing the best
financial return for your work by entering a shareholders’ or partnership agreement.
Your decision needs careful consideration because as the business develops it will
effect how you can attract external investment. It will also determine how easily you can
sell the firm and it could effect the tax consequences of any transfer of ownership.

You may need to find business premises and a solicitor will help you understand terms
of leases. The last thing you need in the early stages of setting-up a business is a large
increase in rent or service charge.

Buying a ready-made business may be an appealing option through a franchise
agreement, but too often people do not read the small print and find themselves trapped
in a deal with expensive products and no support from the franchiser.

Many people do not realise that they may need a licence to trade – a solicitor can help
you be successful in an application. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business and a
solicitor will be able to protect you against bad debts by making sure you use the right
terms of trading. There are also tips on how to quickly collect your debts.

All businesses need an injection of money in order to get off the ground. Whilst starting
out can be an exciting time, too large a commitment, or one taken prematurely, can
cripple a business, and wipe out its owners’ personal wealth.

Even most small firms will employ staff and with this responsibility comes a massive
array of complicated legislation which is constantly changing. Practical advice will
ensure all of your actions keep you on the right side of the law. Tax and insurance are
also potential areas in which you could get lost in a tangle of legislation.

The various ways of raising finance (bank loan, asset-based finance and selling a stake
in the business) all have advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered
before a decision is made. A solicitor will also advise you on whether your business may
be eligible for a grant. Some local, national or European government grants do not need
to be repaid.

Setting up a business can be complex, but it is not impossible. Before you chase your
business dream, it is important to choose a solicitor with relevant knowledge and
experience.

The Lawyers For Your Business scheme is designed to provide small to medium-sized
businesses with access to business-related legal advice. It also offers a free initial
consultation.
For a list of solicitors in your area who are Lawyers For Your Business members, call
020 7405 9075 or visit www.lawsociety.org.uk/lfyb. Or you can visit our website at
www.lawsociety.org.uk/findasolicitor or call 0870 606 2555.

You can find ‘Your guide to setting up in business’ at
http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/commonlegalproblems.law

				
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posted:7/17/2010
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