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.
Understanding the sales and marketing rules that apply to your business is essential. Making sure you comply with consumer protection, distance selling and other similar regulations helps you avoid conflict with customers and trading standards services.
Whether you are selling to businesses (b2b) or to consumers (b2c), you must comply with various trading regulations. These regulate what you can say about your product or service and how you behave when making a sale. For example, misleading marketing could lead to an investigation by trading standards and a fine (or even imprisonment). Extra consumer protection regulations apply to selling to consumers (as opposed to business customers), helping to protect consumer rights.
Special regulations apply to distance selling, particularly when you're selling to individual consumers rather than to other businesses. These rules apply to any selling that does not involve face to face meeting - for example, online or mail-order sales. Amongst other things, consumers generally have an automatic right to cancel orders within a cooling-off period.
Email marketing is regulated by the E-Commerce Regulations, which ban the sending of most unsolicited marketing emails ('junk email' or 'spam') to individuals unless they have actively 'opted in' to receiving them. The same rules apply to emails you send to unincorporated businesses - sole traders and individual partners in a partnership.
You can still send unsolicited marketing emails to people at limited companies or limited liability partnerships, provided your email marketing campaign is directly relevant to the recipient's work. For example, if you're selling print services you can email the people responsible for stationery buying or marketing and promotion - even if you haven't got an existing relationship with them.
In any event, you must always provide a clear and easy 'opt-out' mechanism in all marketing emails you send so that recipients can easily remove themselves from your marketing database and stop receiving marketing emails from you. These rules apply even if you buy in an email list from a list broker.
If you trade internationally, you will need to take into account any local regulations in your export markets covering sales, marketing or other aspects of your business.