I should work with Darby if I...
Just started a business
Launching a new business can be a particularly challenging task, causing even the best of us to become stressed, feel alone and confused. A poor business setup and lack of structure can lead to a business stagnating in the early days. You'll want someone on your team who can assist with making your business structure official and creating partnership agreements that will prevent tough conversations with your business partners in the future.
Run a service-based business
Have you ever serviced a client that wanted you to do more than they paid you for? This can make you feel stuck, and if you operate without the proper contractual agreements in place, vulnerable. If you run a service business and resonate with the above, talk with Darby about placing contractual agreements within your systems to take the stress out of working with your clients in the future.
Own a business with multiple staff
You managed to overcome the hardship of building a business from the ground up, only to find the next phase comes with its own set of challenges. Employing staff, managing them and all the legal documentation that comes with it. It doesn't matter what industry you are in, one thing remains consistent across all Australian businesses - if the employment process isn't conducted properly, it can leave your business in a vulnerable position.
Frequently asked questions
You need a business lawyer to ensure that you have adequate terms of trade, business agreements, and business structures in place to avoid expensive recovery and/or litigation which can be more than tenfold of that of putting preventatives measures in place in the first instance.
I provide a wide range of legal support to businesses, including all types of commercial agreements such as, joint venture, partnership and shareholders’ agreements, advice on business structures, asset protection and succession planning, buying or selling businesses, corporations law, franchising and employment law matters.
This will depend on your needs, how many people will be involved in the business and tax implications. I work in with your accountant or financial advisor to establish which is the best structure suitable for your individual circumstances.
If the venture involves only one individual and the type of business is not seen to be “at risk” it may be appropriate to have a simple structure such as a sole trader or a family trust. On the other hand if the business involves a number of partners or the venture is seen to be an “at risk” type then a more complex structure such as a Corporation or Unit Trust may be appropriate.
You don’t need a solicitor to buy or sell a business, however, it is my strong recommendation to engage one when considering doing so as the purchase or sale of a business is usually a major transaction with a lot of money at stake. There are a lot of legal issues to consider in this type of transaction such as, the lease of the premises, intellectual property rights, transfer of employees and customer lists and security interests over plant and equipment, to name just a few. A solicitor experienced in business transactions will therefore be able to provide advice and recommend strategies with regards to these issues in order to protect your interests and ensure that the transaction proceeds as intended.
You should make sure that you and your prospective partner have similar views in relation to goals, and in relation to the level of risk that you are comfortable with. You should give consideration to what will be the key terms of your arrangement such as what happens if one of you wants to leave the business or dies. It is important that you commit those terms to writing. You will also need to speak with your bank and to consider whether you are well suited to sharing the responsibilities of running a business with someone else.
You should speak with your accountant or lawyer about business structures and make sure that your business structure has been set up to protect your family home. If your home is at risk and you wish to safeguard it you will need to consider capital gains tax and Bankruptcy Act implications. One option may be to engage a lawyer to transfer your home to your spouse if he or she is not potentially at risk in the business.
The most common issues or problems that you may face with the operation of a business are:
- Disputes with suppliers or customers Liability issues
- Intellectual Property issues
- Rights and duties of Shareholders and Directors
- General contracts and agreements
- Employees and employment contracts
- Collection of outstanding accounts receivable
- Shareholder’s Agreements
- Dealing with government agencies – Licensing and Employment Standards
- Leasing commercial premises and other general leasing arrangements
- Partnership Agreements and profit sharing arrangements
- Civil litigation should the Company be drawn into a lawsuit
- Acting as registered office for the Corporation
Corporations with more than one shareholder should seriously consider a buy-sell agreement. A shareholder’s death, divorce, disability or termination of employment can create serious problems for a corporation and its other shareholders. A buy-sell agreement can help minimize these problems by providing for an orderly succession in such plans. Similar provisions are recommended for partnerships.