Get it in writing:

Although oral contracts are binding, it is very difficult to prove what has been agreed if there is a dispute


Put a date in the diary:

If you enter into a lease or contract with key dates for giving notice make a note of the date to avoid missing deadlines


Spread the word:

Make sure your business T&Cs are available before orders are placed by customers or clients, simply putting them on your invoices is too late as the contract has already been formed


Listen up:

When dealing with disputes in your business make sure you listen to the other side’s concerns. It is easier to resolve a dispute early on if you know what the issue is


Good grief!:

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 make sure you have one.


Sharing is caring:

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 do arise


That’s my name!:

Consider protecting your business name by applying for a trade mark. A trade mark is a valuable business asset and will ensure nobody else uses your name


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


It’s not my fault:

When entering into a contract make sure there are provisions to avoid liability for matters outside your control and reasonably limiting liability for those you can control


For sale:

If you are 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


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. Consider using electronic signatures in your business to speed up transactions


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


Cash is king:

Unpaid invoices can cripple a business. 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


Happy anniversary:

Make it a habit to review your business contracts and T&Cs regularly (e.g. perhaps when you renew your insurance) to make sure they are still working for your business


Buyer beware:

If you are buying a business make sure you make proper enquiries (particularly around any liabilities) so you understand exactly what you are buying and you aren’t stung by any nasty surprises


Dealing with consumers:

If you sell goods or services to consumers (people that are not buying from you in the course of their business) they have extra protection you may not expect – make sure you understand your obligations under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013


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!


Competition time!:

Be cautious when running competitions as part of your business marketing campaign – certain types of competitions need approval from the Gambling Commission and all competitions will need to abide by the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code).


Top Secret:

When sharing confidential or commercially sensitive information with others consider using a non-disclosure agreement to protect the information being disclosed from being misused or shared.


London, New York, Paris:

If you enter into contracts with parties in other countries take extra care in ensuring your legal interests are protected and in particular don’t assume that our law will automatically apply to your contract (or that any disputes will be dealt with by courts in England and Wales). Seek advice at an early stage before the contract is signed.


Show me the money!:

The national minimum wage/national living wage is updated every April. Make sure you review your pay rates to ensure you don’t fall foul of any changes and if a younger employee has a birthday check that their pay rate is still appropriate


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.


Don’t bury your head in the sand:

Legal obligations are changing all the time. Make sure you keep up to date with changes to protect your business.