Starting or Finishing a Business

From business structures to succession planning our business lawyers can help you in all aspects of starting or finishing a business.

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Cost of a Business Lawyer

Why you need a business lawyer for
starting or finishing a business

Financial Assets

Helping you prevent future legal issues

Starting a new business can be an exciting and even daunting prospect. When first starting a business, you may not have considered the legal implications that could arise in the future that may put your business at risk. Before launching your business, we can educate you on how to run your business in a way that will avoid any legal issues down the track.

Timely Legal Services

Educating you on your legal rights, responsibilities and obligations

It is important to have knowledge on your rights, responsibilities and obligations before starting a business. You must understand your role as the founder of the business and how this may change if your business grows substantially. We will ensure you are well informed on what is required of you and what to expect before your business even launches.

Dispute Resolution

Assisting you with legal paperwork

Many people are in a hurry to launch their new business, but it is important you seek legal assistance before-hand. A lawyer can assist you with all of your necessary documents by ensuring they are accurately and effectively completed. By engaging the help of a lawyer during this step, you can fast track the launch of your business and feel confident moving forward with the launch.

Helping you form structures for your business

Before starting your business, it is important to consider how you will set up and structure it. There are numerous ways in which a business can be structured. A lawyer can help you select a structure that will align with the context and goal of your business so you can feel reassured that your business has a solid and planned out structure.

Providing advice on what is required to close a business

There are many reasons you may choose to close a business. If you are considering closing your business, you should understand that there are a number of operations you must consider, such as dealing with employees, finalising agreements, selling assets, dealing with business records or taxation matters and satisfying liabilities. A lawyer can educate you on how to handle each matter so you can close your business efficiently and effectively.

Helping you create a business closure plan

Closing a business can sometimes be a complex process depending on its size and structure. Having a business closure plan in place is important to avoid any legal implications that may arise down the road if you have not dealt with the closure properly. A lawyer can help you formulate a business closure plan and ensure you understand your legal rights and responsibilities throughout the business closure process.

Frequently asked questions

A business structure is the organisation of a company that creates legal recognition.
The three most common types of business structures are sole trader, partnership and company.

Sole trader: the simplest form of business structure where an individual is the exclusive owner of a business and is entitled to all of the profit the business makes after tax. Sole traders are therefore also liable for all losses their business may experience.

- Benefits of sole trading are independence and control for the business owner, simple and low-cost setup, and access to business profits and losses.
- Limitations of sole trading may include prospective liability and risk such as exposure of personal and business assets, and business success is often tied to the individual, and therefore risks and rewards are unable to be shared with any other partners.

Partnership: a partnership comprises two or more individuals carrying a business that are all equally responsible for managing the business. Partners generally share profits and losses of the business and are jointly liable for the debts of the partnership.

- Benefits of partnerships are relatively low costs to establish, risk and rewards are shared, salaries depend on individual skills and assets contributed by each partner, and losses can be accessed directly by partners.
- Limitations of partnerships include exposure to joint liabilities that limits opportunity for asset protection, and there may be conflict or disagreements when decisions are made that would affect the business.

Company: company structures are utilised to create a business that has its own personality and standing. A company structure allows the owners to be separated to a certain degree from the business operations.

- Benefits of the company structure are prospective asset protection for shareholders who have limited liability for company debts (however directors of companies can be liable in some circumstances), and there is flexible structure to introduce new parties into the business.
- Limitations of the company structure are the costs associated with set up, ongoing reporting and accounting, loss of control as decisions are made by the board of directors, extensive regulatory compliance necessary, and office holder obligations, risk and liabilities.
An important consideration when you are starting a business is where you hope your business will be in 10 to 15 years from now, rather than just what you need right now. By having an idea of where you want your business to go in the future, you will be able to cater your initial choices to suit your goals for the business. This could be in relation to which business structure you choose, who you hire or whether or not you choose to seek legal advice.
Policies are legal documents that outline the requirements and expectations of staff ensuring that their behaviour is properly managed and documented. Policies also include a rule book for employees and managers to follow. Having well-drafted policies is necessary to control employees, maintain the direction of the business and reduce the risk of litigation for any small, medium or large business. As your business grows, so does the importance of having well-drafted policies, particularly when it comes to managing the day to day behaviour of staff and how they conduct business. Policies can be written to cover any imaginable scenario. Some common policies are:

- Privacy;
- Social media;
- Human resources dispute resolution;
- Confidentiality agreements;
- Drug and alcohol policies; and
- Employee conduct.
Business documents are all documents that relate to your business. This could be records, files, books, plans, data, reports or correspondence. When running a business, it is important to ensure all business arrangements and relationships are properly documented and compliant with the current state of the law. If not adhered to, a range of adverse outcomes may occur that could be prejudicial to your business’ interests. Regularly reviewing your business documents can help you manage the risks.
Often it can be a difficult choice to close a business, particularly if a lot of time, effort and money was invested into it, or if the business was a childhood dream. The two main reasons people choose to close their business are if they no longer want to run the business or if the business is not making enough profit to sustain itself.
Closing a business can take time depending on the business’ size and structure. It is therefore important to plan ahead if you are considering closing your business. You may also wish to seek legal advice to help you close your business, however some general steps for closing a business include:

1. Setting a date to officially close your business. Planning ahead is crucial for a successful closure of business, so by setting a closure date, you can let your employees, suppliers and customers know as early as possible.

2. Considering your employees. If you are thinking of closing your business, you must notify your employees and finalise their employment before your business closes. You will be responsible for paying your employees’ entitlements such as any outstanding wages or accumulated leave.

3. Informing your customers and suppliers. You must inform your suppliers that you will no longer need their services from the closing date, as well as paying them any outstanding amounts. You should also inform your customers by posting a notice on your shop front, your business’ website or let them know in person. You could also hold a closing down sale to sell off your stock.

4. Ending your lease agreement if your business has one. Depending on the conditions of your lease, you may still have to pay rent until the terms of the lease end.

5. Selling your assets and paying outstanding bills. Business assets include outstanding stock, tools, equipment, machinery, property and premises, furniture, patents or trademarks, licenses, etc.

6. Settling your tax and legal responsibilities. When you close a business, you should consider if Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or Goods and Services Tax (GST) apply. You may need to include CGT or GST in the price of your business’ assets that you sell. You may also need to assess insurance requirements, lodge final tax returns, cancel other tax registrations or cancel your business name.

7. Keeping records. Even once you have closed your business, you should keep your business records, which includes financial records and customer and employee records. Generally, you must keep these records for a minimum of five years.

8. Tying up other loose ends. This could be disconnecting your telephone, water or internet, redirecting your mail, closing your bank accounts or any social media, etc.

Why choose us

We will tell you the truth at all times

We will be honest with you about your prospects of success, issues that arise or the commercial viability of your matter. The first time you come to see us, we will tell you whether you even need a lawyer.

We will respect you and your situation

Our job is not to judge anything you may have done. Our job is to guide your matter and actions moving forward to give you the best possible outcome for you, both legally and personally.

We will listen and understand your needs

We will hear not just what you want to achieve, but why you want to achieve it. We will tell you what you need to do to achieve the outcome you are after, legally, practically and emotionally.

We will stand by you all the way

Your matter doesn’t finish once a court order has been made. We will stay on your matter right up until all of the outstanding issues have been dealt with and the court orders are complied with.

We can help you through all aspects of starting or finishing a business

Forge Legal’s business lawyers are specialists in all areas of business law and can assist you with all business law matters.

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