As the holidays are fast approaching, it’s that time of the year to share our 2021 Christmas Advent of Legal Top Tips.
Last year, we received lots of great feedback about how the tips had prompted you to take action or remind you of things to take a closer look at.
With a growing audience, a growing team we’ve refreshed our legal top tips to make sure you’re still getting the right advice.
Advent of Legal Top Tips – the 2021 edition!…
1 – Get it in writing: although oral contracts are binding, it is very difficult to prove what has been agreed if there is a dispute.
2 – 2020 Newsletter – Sign up to the 2020 Newsletter and receive a free health check for your own business which provides you with a personalised report – find out more here.
3 – Fuel Poverty Awareness Day – This day is intended to call for greater action and to highlight the existing help, and support, available for those facing fuel poverty. While Britain’s largest businesses are leading the way in the global transition to net zero emissions, what is your company doing to contribute to climate change?
4 – Small Business Saturday – Small Business Saturday UK is a campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. The day is the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting effect on small businesses – how can we all support local businesses?
5 – Take time to Listen: – if you are facing challenges in your business, listen to the other side’s point of view. It is easier to sort out a dispute early on if you understand what the issues are.
6 – Get it in Writing – We can’t stress this enough and while oral contracts are often binding, it is difficult to prove what has been agreed should a dispute arise. While a good handshake used to be sufficient when conducting business, those days are long gone! Get it in writing to avoid issues later down the line, which could prove to be costly.
7 – Put important dates in the diary. This is particularly important when entering into a lease, or contract. Key dates for giving notice, or getting deposits released should be diarised to avoid missing important deadlines.
8 – Word of Mouth – You must ensure your business T&C’s are available before orders are placed by customers or clients. Simply adding these to your invoices will not suffice as the contract has already been created. 2020 offer a free legal health check. Have you had yours?
9 – Company Christmas Lunch! 2020’s annual company Holiday lunch is today. How will you be spending yours? Has Covid had an impact on the way your businesses are now operating, with more staff working from home and hesitant to meet in larger numbers? Make sure you spend some time with your team online or in person.
10 – Prevention is better than cure: if you are going to start working with a new customer/client or supplier make sure you do your homework to find out the exact business entity you are dealing with and consider their financial position. 2020 has increased the importance of this so consider things like taking deposits or having shorter payment terms in place until a payment history is established.
11 – Retainer – 2020 has a retainer service for our clients that may suit your business needs. Contact us to hear about the benefits of fixed fees to avoid spiralling business costs.
12 – GDPR: Is your company GDPR compliant in the UK and up to speed? What data protection measures can your business take now? Companies that invest in data protection don’t just avoid fines, they benefit from savings in operations and efficiency. Contact us if you need any advice following the Brexit transition period.
13 – Can I have your autograph?: contracts can be validly signed electronically provided that there is an intention by the person signing to authenticate the document. This year has advanced the use of technology and many more businesses are considering how electronic signatures could be used to speed up transactions.
14 – Health & Safety: although businesses with fewer than five people are not required to have a written statement, all businesses need to assess potential risks in the workplace. Consider having a written statement in any event to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your team.
15 – Templates – As tempting as it might be to use a templated legal document you’ve found online, it’s a huge risk to your business. Each and every business is unique therefore it’s highly likely a generic template won’t cover the finer details you need to protect yourself.
16 – Trademarks. Consider protecting your business name by applying a trademark which will ensure nobody else uses your name!
17 – Other countries – If you enter into contracts with parties in other countries, take care in ensuring your legal interests are protected and in particular don’t assume that UK law will automatically apply to your contract. Seek legal advice at an early stage before contracts are signed.
18 – Copycat: if an employee creates work for his employer the employer will generally be the owner of copyright in the work. However, if the work is created by a freelancer/independent contractor you will need to specifically make provision to deal with copyright as it is otherwise retained by the freelancer/independent contractor. Don’t get caught out!
19 – Unpaid Invoices? It’s important to review your T&Cs to check you have sufficient protection against non-payment e.g. retention of title, interest on late payment or suspending services. Last year we saw temporary legislation come into place to protect tenants who were unable to pay their rent because of the impact of coronavirus. This meant that landlords could not evict them due to non payment of rent. How are you coping in your business, and will you be protected in 2022?
20 – Staffing: By law, if you are an employer, you must set out a grievance procedure and share it in writing with all employees. It doesn’t have to be in your contracts of employment but do make sure you have one in place.
21 – Insure it: as your business grows make sure you have adequate insurance that grows with you. If you have employees then Employer Liability Insurance is obligatory.
22 – Limited Company? If your business is a limited company with 2+ shareholders, you should consider a shareholders agreement to avoid disputes between the shareholders and set out procedures for resolving disputes that may arise.
23 – Selling? If you’re considering selling your business, start pulling together key information early. Due diligence (where the seller delves into the business to understand what it is buying) is a lengthy process which can be shortened, if you have key documents and information to hand. We can help you with every aspect of this. Click here for more information.
24 – Sorry!: Not a business law tip but it is Christmas Eve and we would like to wish you all, but in no way would we like to guarantee, a very Merry Christmas! Happy Christmas from the team at 2020 Business Law.