Small Business and the Law

Business man working on document focused and concentrated on terms and conditions Running a small business is exciting, especially when it starts to grow. However, it’s not always fun and easy. Operating a business is often stressful and presents a variety of financial and legal risks if not done right. The best way of avoiding potential issues is to get on top of any legalities at the very beginning. Below are some key considerations to make.

Your Business Structure

The kind of business structure you choose will have implications over the whole life of the business. The right type of structure will depend on a variety of factors such as your appetite for risk, how much flexibility you need, what type of business you are operating, tax considerations and the costs related to each type of structure.

The main options you have include:

  • Sole trader – a business owner operating on their own
  • Partnership – two or more people/entities operating the business
  • Company – a separate legal entity from its owners/shareholders
  • Trust – an entity holding assets of the business on behalf of others

An experienced commercial lawyer can help run through the benefits and downsides to each option and help you determine the best option for you.

Your Obligations

What kind of legal framework are you operating in? For example, do you need to hold particular licences or permits to carry out your business activities? Are you required to offer a certain level of diligence, skill or care? Depending on what your business is, you will be subject to particular laws and regulations that govern your business operations, so it’s essential to be well informed about them.

Protecting Your Business

Protecting your business’s assets is crucial. This includes intellectual property, which some business owners overlook until it’s too late. This includes things like your trademark, brand, domain name, copyright and products or recipes you’ve created. Don’t find yourself in a situation where you come up with a great business name only to find someone else beating you to registering it.

Other ways of protecting yourself include having carefully drafted terms and conditions for things like refunds, supplier relationships and payment terms. Privacy policies are also essential for ensuring your business complies with any privacy legislation and telling your customers you are a responsible and professional business when it comes to handling their personal information.

Employer Obligations

Ensure you meet the minimum standards that meet all employees in Australia, including minimum wage and any awards that apply in your industry. Familiarise yourself with these standards and your obligations under the Fair Work and Occupational Health and Safety Acts to ensure you are operating lawfully. A workplace law firm can help you understand your obligations and draft employment contracts that are fair and lawful.

Need Advice or Assistance with Commercial Law?

If you’re starting a business or need legal advice for your existing company, speak to our experienced lawyers in Brisbane. As members of the Queensland Law Society, our lawyers will examine your individual circumstances and offer timely advice on the best pathway forward.

At Phoenix Law, we specialise in Family Law, Personal Injury Law, Migration Law, Commercial Law, Property Law, Litigation Dispute Resolution, Estate Planning, International Trade Law, Intellectual Property Law and Workplace Relations Law. We speak your language, with a team of multilingual lawyers ensuring our clients get the best possible understanding of Australian law. Call our law firm today on 07 3180 0908 or contact us online.