When it comes to careers, the majority of people assume that they will simply have to work for someone else. This isn’t all too surprising. After all, while we are at school, we gain all sorts of qualifications and are encouraged to take on all sorts of extracurricular activities, but rather than considering how these new skills that could help us in their own right, we are told that these things will “look good” on our CVs and that employers want to see these things before they’ll give you a job.
We are conditioned into believing that the purpose of our education is to impress others who should hopefully hire us down the line. Then we are taught all sorts of interview skills to be able to get us through the process of applying to work for someone else. We learn how to sell ourselves, how to highlight our best traits, and how to answer awkward and hackneyed questions such as “where do you see yourself five years from now” or “why do you want to work for this company”.
While being an employee can offer a relatively comfortable lifestyle where your working day starts at nine and finishes at five, have you ever considered that by accepting this, you’re simply building someone else’s dream on their behalf? Instead, you could be creating a business of your own and reaping all the profit of your own hard work. So, if this sounds good to you, you’re going to need to know the legalities involved in doing so! Here are a few to consider.
One of the first legal steps that you should consider taking as a small business owner is company formation. Company formation, otherwise referred to as “company registration” or “company incorporation”, is the process of registering your small business as a limited company and Companies House. This process ensures that your business is an official legal entity and is separate from you in terms of finances, liabilities, contractual agreements, and ownership of property and assets.
Why do you want to be separated from your business’ finances? Well, it reduces your financial responsibility over your business. This protects your personal assets and belongings should your company face trouble or difficulties down the line. Being a limited company also gives you a more professional appearance – your business is more likely to be seen as established and reliable. As long as you carry out company formation through reliable professionals such as Your Company Formations Ltd, the process should be fast, simple, and relatively cheap. You will then benefit from increased interest from investors, clients, and customers.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
When you start up a small business, there will be plenty of scammers out there who will try to steal your intellectual property. If you are unsure what intellectual property is, it’s the intangible property that is the result of creativity. For example, brand names, brand logos, colour schemes, tag lines and other aspects of your brand that help to identify it in your consumer’s minds. You don’t want anyone else to be able to take all of your hard work and pass it off as their own.
The good news is that you can protect your intellectual property easily, as long as you take the right precautions. The first thing that you should look into is legal copyright. You will have to apply for this through your home nation’s regulating authorities. Individuals working for these institutions will be able to tell you whether your ideas are already in use (in which case you should have an alternative backup ready) or whether it’s free.
Once you have an original concept, they’ll help you through the rest of the process. It doesn’t cost much, is quick and completely worth the time, effort and cash. After all, if you apply for copyright as soon as you have settled on your brand name, had your logo designed and come up with a color scheme or any other commerce imagery, nobody else will be able to use it without facing legal action.
Establishing a Business Address
Your business will need an address. This is important, as your business will need to be formally registered somewhere and your brand will need an address where buyers can return products and send correspondence. However, as many first time small business owners start up from their own homes, this can be problematic.
You don’t want the world having access to your exact whereabouts. You should also keep your personal life and your professional life as distinct from one another as possible. You don’t want all of your professional correspondence and the junk mail that comes hand in hand with it being sent to the place where you live.
Some specialist companies can provide you with a business address. They will generally offer you a physical address where your customers can send their correspondence. This will then be scanned, uploaded and sent to you by the company. Alternatively, you can invest in a PO Box. Items sent to this address can then be delivered on to your address or you can pick it up from your local post office.
Setting Up Business Bank Accounts
Now, setting up a business bank account isn’t necessarily a legal requirement. But taking care of your accounts and paying your taxes correctly is. So setting up business bank accounts helps to simplify this process and is likely to result in fewer mistakes made down the line.
First, you might like to consider a business checking account. A checking account will take centre stage when it comes to your business accounts. Profits from sales are deposited in here, wages are paid out of it, and expenses such as bills are taken out of it. You may have heard others talking about cash flow within their businesses and its importance. This is where it all happens.
Next, you should consider a merchant account. If your company accepts payments by credit card, you’ll need to set up a merchant account. This goes for those who deal with online payments and payments through third parties such as Paypal too! This is great for attracting more customers. After all, the more forms of payment you accept, the wider the audience you invite in! If you have employees, you will need a payroll account. All worker’s wages are deposited into this account, ready to be distributed out to individual staff members’ bank accounts.
These are just a few areas to focus on as you’re starting out. But they will help to keep your business on the straight and narrow!
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