What Are the Legal Obligations for Starting a Business?
Making sure you keep on track with your business’s legal obligations is essential. However, with regulations changing all the time, it can be a job in itself to keep up with all of the various updates that apply to your organisation.
The legalities behind running your business will vary depending on the nature of your operations and the regulations that govern your industry. That being said, below is a list with some obligations that may slip your mind, however are ones that you may need to abide by:
- Using licensed software – it’s required for all businesses to used licensed versions of software throughout their operations. Whilst it may be costly initially, this will pay off long-term, helping you to stay on the right side of the law when it comes to the way you run your business.
- Handling intellectual property – intellectual property, both yours and other companies’, must be protected and handled in-line with the legal framework that surrounds it. If you have intellectual property you want to protect, it’s important to make this official so that others don’t steal it – e.g. registering a trade mark.
- Assessing risks – no matter the size of your business, all are required to carry out risk assessments throughout their workplace, and further to manage risks, preventing harm coming to those within the space your business operates through.
Whilst all of these could very well be vital components in helping your business operate legally, your obligations will be dependent upon the nature of your operations. Therefore it’s important to identify all of the legal requirements that apply specifically to your business and make sure you uphold these.
What Is the Legal Structure of My Business?
One of the most essential elements to establish when starting up a business is deciding the right type of legal structure to operate under. There are a range of different structures to choose from, all accommodating to a variety of business types. therefore, it’s best to explore all the options available before deciding on one that’s right for your operation.
Below is a list with some of the most common types of business structures:
- Limited liability company – a company of which is incorporated, and further limited, by shares.
- A partnership – with this type of structure, all of the business’s partners will share responsibility for the business personally.
- Limited liability partnership – whilst the number of partners within this type of structure is not limited, a minimum of two partners must be made responsible for the filing of annual accounts – known as the “designated members”.
- Sole trader – considered as self-employed, sole traders hold all of the responsibility for their business and for abiding by any and all legal obligations that come with running its operations.
My Business and COVID-19: Is It Legal to Run My Business From Home?
With the coronavirus pandemic having forced many professionals to work remotely, the question on many business owners’ minds is whether its legal to operate from home, or whether you need to have this authorised first.
If you’re running your business from home during the coronavirus pandemic, you may need to ask permission to do so. However, the type of permission you will have to obtain varies depending on your line of work, in addition to whether you own or rent the home you will be running the operation through.
If you want to operate your business from a council house or a rented house, you’ll most likely need permission from the council or your landlord respectively.
There may also be certain restrictions on running certain businesses in a property you own, however, these will be dependent upon the nature of your business as well as the property title.