Starting a business can be an overwhelming and daunting exercise. There are various aspects to consider which will ultimately be determined by the type of business you intend operating. But where exactly do you start?
Here are 8 useful tips to get you started in the right direction:
- Choose a legal structure:
Some of the structures available for businesses include a sole proprietorship, partnership, close corporation, company or a trust. The requirements and legal liability associated to the various structures differs and it is important to consider this carefully in order to choose a structure that best suits your intended business and to ensure that you are safeguarded in the unfortunate event of the business failing. It is equally important to ensure that the relationship with any partners are formalised in clear and concise agreements to ensure all parties understand their respective roles and responsibilities.
- Register your business:
Once you have decided on the appropriate legal structure you will need to register it with the relevant offices, such as the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) or the Masters Office. You may further wish to register your business as a member with organisations or bodies that could assist you with marketing your brand and/or products/services.
- Obtain applicable licences:
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to obtain certain licences in order to conduct your business legally. These could include, amongst others, a liquor licence, music rights licence or a business trading licence.
- Select your business premises:
For many businesses, choosing the right location for your business plays an important role in its success. Ensure that your right to operate from the premises is secure, whether it is by virtue of ownership or rental of the property concerned and that the zoning of the property is appropriate.
- Compliance with law:
It is important to ascertain and comply with legal requirements applicable to your business, such as the Tobacco Products Control Act, the Consumer Protection Act and the Companies Act. This further includes compliance with relevant labour legislation if you have employees. Experience shows that obtaining upfront assistance and guidance in these areas pays huge benefits so ensure that you have carefully covered all these areas to avoid costly setbacks at a later stage.
- Obtain adequate insurance:
Starting a business is a costly exercise and it is advisable to seek guidance from a trusted advisor in respect of specific risks pertaining to your business and to insure your business against such risks. Certain industries require insurance as a pre-requisite to operating your business and you would need to ensure same is adequately in place.
- Managing business relationships:
Your business will involve various relationships with, for example, suppliers and customers. Make sure that the agreed terms of the relationships are properly and clearly set out in a validly executed contract to protect the interests of your business and to enable you to properly manage same.
- Protect your intellectual property:
As your business develops, you will grow a brand and reputation. Your business may further be based on a product or creation that it unique and new. Before sharing this with the world, make sure that you have taken the appropriate steps to protect and secure your right to such intellectual property.
This is not an exhaustive list of the various aspects that are important to consider and cater for when starting your own business. You will likely be investing a great deal in the success of your business and it therefore makes sense to ensure that you seek and obtain professional advice and guidance from the outset.
Contact Goldberg & de Villiers Inc. for professional legal assistance on 041 – 501 9800.
[Article – Sandy Scholtz]