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Getting you through the small business maze

Business Law News | October 2015

Small business – defined by the Commonwealth government as businesses with less than 20 employees – is big business in our national economy. Small business constitutes about 97% of business in Australia, employs about 44% of the workforce and represents about 33% of national output.* The idea of having some lifestyle flexibility, being able to push your unique ideas and philosophies is attractive to many of us opposed to the sometimes draconian lifestyle imposed by big business employers.

Forum Law is well placed to advise individuals about setting up, the running of and the exit from a small business as well as the further development of the small business into a larger business model.

Forum Law advises on setting up the appropriate trading vehicle, in conjunction with an accountant. We advise on the documenting of relationships with co-stakeholders; in a partnership or a company or a joint venture for example. This document can be a valuable blueprint for the running of the business and provides a convenient and cost-effective strategy document in the event of a dispute or conflict in the life of the business, or the growth or exit from the business.

Forum Law can also advise and assist with the funding of the business. We can advise on loan documentation, liasing with investors and advise on new and innovative sources of funding are becoming available including the proposed new laws on crowd funding. We can direct you to the ample array of government services that assist small businesses with funding and other services.

We can advise and assist on securing premises for the business. Forum Law has a strong background in retail and commercial leasing, as well as conveyancing.

If you elect to buy an existing business, or a franchise there are many considerations to be taken into account, and some are more evident than others. Forum Law is able to assist with navigating the process of purchasing a business, whatever form the business may assume, and whatever industry. It is always advisable to seek professional legal advice in purchasing a business, and Forum Law advises in many specialist industry areas, including retail and in building and construction.

In the cyber age and the world of creatives or in any industry, intellectual property [“IP”] is increasingly becoming a valuable asset of any business. Forum Law will advise and assist in creating and protecting your IP and allowing you to utilise the IP to earn income for your business. We can also assist you with your website and ensuring the effectiveness of the website by performing a legal audit for compliance.

We are all in business to make money. Forum Law can advise and assist in documenting your relationships and terms of trade with your suppliers and your customers, including terms to ensure you get paid. Sometimes the terms of customer invoices and payment terms have industry specific requirements, and Forum Law can advise on these requirements.

Forum Law will advise and assist with contracts for employees and contractors, and we will advise you on the difference between the two categories of people who work for you.

Forum Law is a legal practice which focuses on personal professional relationships with our clients. We foster long-term, cost-effective retainers and we always return phone calls! We provide easy to understand advice and we engage in time-efficient and convenient processes to ensure you receive the highest standard of service for your business law needs.

*ABS Cat.8155 and Cat.8166 [excluding financial and insurance sector]

Forum Law is an active member of several reputable law and industry associations. We have recently obtained ISO9001 accreditation.