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Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.

While poor governance can bring serious legal consequences, the law can also protect business owners and managers and help to prevent conflict.

Whether you want to raise finance, join forces with someone else, buy or sell a business, it pays to be aware of the legal implications.

From pay, hours and time off to discipline, grievance and hiring and firing employees, find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer.

Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

Commercial disputes can prove time-consuming, stressful and expensive, but having robust legal agreements can help to prevent them from occurring.

Whether your business owns or rents premises, your legal liabilities can be substantial. Commercial property law is complex, but you can avoid common pitfalls.

With information and sound advice, living up to your legal responsibilities to safeguard your employees, customers and visitors need not be difficult or costly.

As information technology continues to evolve, legislation must also change. It affects everything from data protection and online selling to internet policies for employees.

Intellectual property (IP) isn't solely relevant to larger businesses or those involved in developing innovative new products: all products have IP.

Knowing how and when you plan to sell or relinquish control of your business can help you to make better decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

From bereavement, wills, inheritance, separation and divorce to selling a house, personal injury and traffic offences, learn more about your personal legal rights.

Your new start up - four key legal responsibilities

Starting a new business is exciting. You're undoubtedly brimming with great ideas, and you can't wait to get started. But have you considered the laws that might apply to your business? It's vital that you don't let a lack of knowledge of legislation dampen your enthusiasm or scupper your chances of success.

You need to be clued up, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are four key areas to pay attention to, to make sure your business is compliant.

1. Licensing

Depending on which business sector you are operating in and the nature of your business, you might need to apply for a licence.

Those of you who are starting a business in catering or hospitality (bars and restaurants), for example, may need a licence for serving alcohol. You may also need to register with your local authority for health, food and safety standards. There are also licences for playing music and entertainment.

In all cases, it's best to contact your local authority and check to see if the work you are likely to be engaged in will require you to apply for a licence.

2. Business insurance

If you intend on having employees, you need employers' liability insurance. Without this you risk the chance of being fined for every day that you are uninsured, as well as putting yourself in a vulnerable position for compensation claims from employees if they suffer an injury or illness as a result of their work.

As well, you may wish to think about other cover such as public liability. Although it is not a legal necessity, it will help towards protecting your business from compensation claims from members of the public who come into contact with your company.

Speak to an insurance specialist to determine the cover that you must have to legally operate your business - and the extras that could protect you from problems that are specific to the work you do.

3. Accounts and taxation

You might have a great product or service, but that doesn't mean that you're a natural expert in finance. This is something that can catch many companies out and, depending on your business, you'll have tax and accounting obligations to meet by law.

There are two ways to help with this. Firstly, seek expert support at an early stage to ensure your business is structured correctly and can meet its tax demands.

Secondly, use accounting software, such as QuickBooks, to make it easier to manage your money without drowning in a sea of paperwork. Most packages are very simple to use, even for a finance novice.

4. Health and safety

As a business owner, you are responsible for providing a safe and secure working environment for your employees - and for either making your products or delivering your service in a way that doesn't damage or endanger the environment around you.

Most health and safety rules are common sense - avoiding trip and fire hazards, for example - but it's important to read up on any specific rules about the work you do.

Key to this is a risk assessment, noting all of the possible health and safety concerns in your workplace and any measures in place to mitigate them.

Copyright © 2018 Article was made possible by site supporter Rachael Matthews.

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