Small Business Legal Advice & Lawyers
If you’re considering starting a business, or you have already started your entrepreneurial journey as a small business or start-up, it’s likely you feel equal parts excited and overwhelmed. The world of business law can be complex, with many challenges and opportunities arising in the early stages of your venture. Searching online for legal advice can be frustrating with lots of conflicting ideas and difficult to understand jargon. For this reason, it's so important to get legal advice from a professional who understands business law and your unique situation, whether you need help getting started, need support with a merger or acquisition, or you're looking to make your first hire.
Get A Free Fixed-Fee Quote From Small Business Solicitors
At Lawhive, we help small businesses and startups understand the law and take action in line with the law and their strategic commercial goals ranging from contract reviews to non-disclosure agreements and beyond.
Our experienced small business solicitors are on hand to provide practical legal advice and solutions as and when you need it, at the touch of a button. To get started, simply tell us about your case or your needs, and we will connect you with the very best, most experienced small business solicitors in the UK, along with a transparent fixed-fee quote for any work or advice you might need.
Legal Advice for Small Businesses & Startups
It can be tricky to understand and navigate topics like business structures, contracts, employment law, taxation, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, and dispute resolution, especially while juggling the day to day practicalities of running a small business. That's why it’s so important to seek expert legal advice from experienced business lawyers and solicitors that’s tailored to your needs.
To help you find the best business solicitors for your legal matter, we have compiled the below guide, which will cover the following questions and topics:
Do I need a small business lawyer?
A business lawyer is invaluable for all kinds of organisations and businesses, regardless of structure or size. At Lawhive, our small business lawyers routinely support:
Individuals and sole traders
New and growing businesses
International businesses in the UK market
At all stages of business operations including starting a business, managing the day to day running of a business, and selling or closing a business.
Our solicitors operate primarily online, and can support with many different commercial matters ranging from consulting agreements to laws of corporations and other business-related transactions.
How do I find a small business solicitor?
Finding the right solicitor for your small business is critical to getting the basics right. Depending on your situation, you might initially want to consider what kind of legal help you require (such as a lawyer, solicitor or barrister) and your goals in hiring a solicitor. As well as that, here are a few other considerations to help you make an informed choice:
Experience and Specialisation: Look for a solicitor with experience in small business and startup matters. Specialisation in areas such as business law, commercial contracts, and intellectual property are invaluable.
Reputation and Reviews: Research the solicitor's reputation by reading reviews and seeking recommendations from contacts and fellow entrepreneurs. A solicitor with a track record of success and positive client feedback is often a good choice. You can also check a solicitor’s record online to vet their credentials.
Communication: Effective communication is key to a successful working relationship. A solicitor should be responsive, clear in their explanations, and accessible when you need assistance.
Fees and Billing Structure: Discuss the solicitor's fee structure upfront. Understand how they bill for their services, whether it's hourly rates, fixed fees, or contingency fees, and ensure it aligns with your budget.
How do I work with a small business solicitor?
Once you've chosen a solicitor, creating a productive partnership is essential. In a digital driven age, there are many benefits to working with a solicitor online, but regardless of how you choose to do it, there are some fundamentals for success that don’t change:
Open Communication: Be transparent about your business goals, challenges, and concerns. Clear, timely communication ensures that the solicitor can provide tailored advice and solutions.
Setting Expectations: Establish clear expectations regarding the scope of work, timelines, and deliverables. A well-defined engagement agreement can prevent misunderstandings.
Documentation: Keep comprehensive records of all communications and agreements with your solicitor. This documentation can be crucial in case of disputes or if you need to reference previous legal advice. When you work with a business lawyer at Lawhive, you get exclusive use of our legal tech platform through which you can communicate with your solicitor and manage documentation, so you can maintain complete visibility of the process and keep all relevant documents in one place.
Managing Legal Costs: Legal expenses can add up quickly. Regularly review and discuss billing statements with your solicitor to ensure that costs remain within your budget.
Working with a business solicitor is an investment in the legal health and success of your small business or startup. Their expertise will help you navigate business law, make informed decisions, and protect your business's interests effectively.
Business Legal Services & Areas
Launching a small business or start-up is an exciting venture, but it also comes with legal considerations that set the foundation for long term success such as:
The legal structure of your business can affect:
How much tax you pay
Your level of control over the business
How much paperwork you need to handle
What happens if your business makes a loss
There are several types of business legal structures, including sole trader, limited company and business partnership.
There are pros and cons to each structure, therefore it is recommended that you speak to a professional, such as an accountant, tax advisor or solicitor who will be able to advise.
Registering your small business
Every new business, no matter how big or small, must register with HMRC and, in some cases, Companies House. Understanding how to register your business depending on the structure is vital to avoid any missteps when it comes to the law.
If you have employees, you also need to secure Employer's Liability Insurance. This is a legal requirement and ensures you are covered in the event that an employee gets injured or ill in the workplace.
Intellectual Property and Trademarks
From your company logo to your unique product specifications or designs, all small businesses should know how to protect their intellectual property in the first instance, and what they should do in the event of IP infringement.
An intellectual property lawyer can help you identify IP risks and opportunities and help you either mitigate risks and/or seize opportunities in relation to property designs, patents, copyrights and more.
Contracts & Agreements
Contracts are the backbone of any business from employment contracts through to terms and conditions that underpin transactions, partnerships, and collaborations. In short, these different types of contracts are essential for safeguarding your interests, building secure relationships and minimising the risk of disputes including:
Creating clear and comprehensive contracts for your small business is crucial as mistakes can be costly. Getting legal advice from a business solicitor when it comes to contracts and agreements, including IR 35 contract reviews and non-compete agreements will no doubt support you in mitigating risks and protecting your businesses best interests.
As your small business grows, you might need to hire employees or work with independent contractors like consultants or freelancers. While the need to expand your headcount is a good sign of a thriving enterprise, it is essential to understand your obligations in regards to employment law.
For example, there may come a time when you weigh up the pros and cons of hiring employees vs working with independent contractors. Understanding the ins and outs of small business law, and having someone on your side to advise you, can help you effectively distinguish between employees and independent contractors to avoid legal issues and penalties, as well as juggle the practicalities of your obligations as an employer.
Small Business Taxes and Finance
No matter the size of your business, you’ll likely need to pay taxes whether that’s income tax, corporation tax, or value-added tax (VAT). A healthy bottom line is critical for success when it comes to small businesses.
Expert legal advice will help you understand your tax liability and potentially reduce it with tax deductions and credits, as well as how you can manage business debts.
If you’re looking for funding options for your startup and small business, a solicitor may also help you understand the pros and cons of loans, grants, investors and crowdfunding, as well as how you can go about securing capital in a way that’s in line with the law.
It’s likely that within your SME you’ll have to comply with industry-specific regulations, data protection laws, health and safety, and environmental standards. You may also need to obtain certain licences or permits, too.
It’s never been easier to set up a digital business, however things like data protection, including GDPR for small businesses is paramount. A small business solicitor can help you understand how to handle customer data legally and responsibly in line with General Data Protection Regulation, and the importance of privacy policies for your website and in your business operations.
Disputes in business are sometimes inevitable. How you go about resolving them can make the difference between a minor hiccup and costly legal battle. Often with small business disputes, the most cost-efficient and effective way to resolve disputes is though alternative dispute resolution like mediation and arbitration. However, sometimes litigation (i.e. going to court) is unavoidable.
In the event of court proceedings in relation to business disputes, choosing the right legal representation (such a solicitor or barrister) is hugely important to obtain a favourable outcome in the quickest time possible.
Growth and Expansion
As your small business or startup grows and sees more success, you may consider opportunities for growth and expansion in the form of:
Franchising your small business can be a viable avenue for growth. To do this successfully, it’s important to understand the legal requirements for franchising, including franchise disclosure documents and franchise agreements.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions are not uncommon for small businesses looking to grow, however there are a wide range of areas to consider in order to meet your commercial goals including:
Cross border transactions
Acquisition and disposals of private and public companies
Acquisitions and disposals of business and assets
MBOs and MBIs
All of these can range in complexity, so it’s wise to seek professional advice in these kinds of matters.
Going global is an exciting prospect, but there are key steps involved in expanding your business internationally, along with fundamental legal considerations like trade agreements and foreign regulations. Furthermore, recent Government changes (such as Brexit) mean there are new nuances to consider in terms of importing and exporting goods and services across borders.
Get Commercial Legal Advice Now
While this guide provides valuable insights into small business law and legal advice, it's important to acknowledge that the legal landscape is nuanced and ever-changing. Every business is unique, and the specific legal challenges you encounter may require tailored solutions.
Therefore, we strongly recommend seeking the expertise of a qualified business solicitor who can provide personalised guidance based on your business's individual needs and circumstances.
Here at Lawhive, we can help you find a small business solicitor to support you in the success of your entrepreneurial journey. Our mission is to make legal advice and help accessible to everyone. To get started simply tell us about your situation and we will connect you with best online small business solicitor for your case, as well as give you a fixed fee for their services in as little as 5 minutes.