Staying Legal with Your Startup — 3 Top Knowledge Sources
Even the most seasoned entrepreneur knows that setting up a new enterprise can be fraught with difficulties.
From securing financial backing to developing prototypes and market research to hiring staff, the road to commercial success is punctuated by many potential pitfalls.
And one issue that can sink a new business shortly after it sets sail is legal compliance — ensuring that your tax arrangements, contracts and health and safety practices are completely above board.
Not knowing the ins and outs of the laws that apply to your company is no excuse for not complying — and regulators have the power to shut you down, impose punitive fines or even instigate prosecutions.
So if you want to stay legal with your startup, here are three top knowledge sources.
- Health and Safety Executive
Robust health and safety practices should be in place in any business — but they’re particularly important in inherently dangerous sectors like construction and oil and gas.
As an employer, you’re legally responsible for ensuring premises, equipment, policies, and procedures protect employee emotional and physical health — and can be punished if your provision is proven to be lacking.
When it comes to advise on keeping workers safe, it’s best to go to the source— reading guidance from the Health and Safety Executive ensures that you’re up-to-date on the latest requirements for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), appliance testing, risk assessments and more.
- Government agencies for imports and exports
Depending on the nature of your business, you might require an import or export license prior to commencing trading — and failure to do so might compromise the continued viability of your business.
Exports or imports on artworks, military goods, plants and animals, technology and medicines are highly controlled — so unlicensed trading is a criminal offense.
As you might expect, various dedicated agencies issue licenses appropriate to their remits.
So if you’re exporting or importing antiques or works of art, consulting information from the Arts Council is a good place to start — but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is your best bet for info on exporting live animals and animal products.
- Local lawyers
In the strictest sense, legal advice should only be dispensed by someone who’s legally qualified and specializes in the relevant field.
For a startup company, a local firm of solicitors can often be preferable to a larger competitor — they know the legal ‘lie of the land’ in areas appropriate to your business and have extensive experience and valuable contacts.
But their expertise can exceed or equal that of larger competitors — hiring a local lawyer like Switalskis Solicitors blends the benefits of bespoke local advice, national-level skills and experience in high-profile cases and a cultured understanding of case law.
So there are three top knowledge sources if you want to stay legal with your startup — they’ll provide the peace of mind that helps you operate with complete confidence.
What’s your favorite source of legal knowledge? Share your thoughts in the comments section.