Congratulations! You have diversified your portfolio in a way that few of us ever will, and have purchased or started a new company. A lot of hard work and harder conversations have probably gone into this momentous result, but there are still some considerations you need to make before you begin to operate as a new owner.
Protecting yourself should be your highest priority, with sales strategies and marketing campaigns pushed to the side until you have handled this critical responsibility. If the pen has dried on your company acquisition or commencement, here is what you should be thinking about to protect yourself as a new company.
Find a lawyer or law firm that you trust
If there is a perception that a lawyer only gets involved when things go awry, you couldn’t be more wrong. A lawyer will ensure that you start this exciting venture on the right footing, and are protected from day one.
What sort of lawyer and what they offer will vary on the company you own, but there is a law firm out there who will be the right fit for you and your needs. Copyright lawyers, intellectual property lawyers, finance lawyers or even local family law offices- understand what the scope is of your business and begin the hunt for the right representation.
Make sure all your registrations and licenses are in place
It’s one thing to own a business in theory, but it is quite another to have this business registered and operating in accordance with the government and city council. Once again, this will look different for all different business niches, but you want to ensure that you are operating in a way that will not have you served with a fine or desist notice on your first week of opening.
Not sure what that looks like? Most companies are legally required to have a fixed number of bathrooms per number of employees (for example, one bathroom per 8 employees), and nail salons are required to have an adequate natural or artificial airflow to mitigate fumes, and restaurants must have premium refrigeration system to serve food safely.
Each business type has a number of compliances such as these, and only when they are satisfied can you legally be open.
Comply with all employee agreements
Treating your employees fairly isn’t only the right thing to do, it is legally mandated. This means that you must be hiring people of legal age, paying them minimum wage or above, and be contributing to their superannuation if they meet the criteria.
Not protecting yourself here could mean you are faced with a substantial payout of back-pay, with even greater consequences resulting in court appearances and enormous fines. Understand what your obligations are when it comes to your staff, and do not cut corners in this area.
There are many insurances you can apply for to cover you in circumstances that are outside of your control. Some of the more widely known insurance options are public liability, private indemnity and various commercial insurances that protect you as a property owner or renter who is running their company from that address.
If a storm hits and blows out the windows for your business, your insurance should protect you against this. If an employee trips over while at work and hurts themselves, your insurance should protect you against this. Don’t be left paying for any damages when a quick insurance claim could have covered the cost and hassle.
So begins the next chapter of your life as a company owner. Being prepared will make this adjustment one that you will barely notice, with the paperwork and contingency plans in place and ready to go.