Business & Commercial Law

Business & Commercial Law

If you’re running a small business you’re often run off your feet and have little time to get across the legal necessities for your business.  That’s no problem at all; most of our small business clients are in the same boat.  You have enough on your plate, so our experienced small business lawyers are here to help.

We can ensure your small business is structured correctly, and that it is set up to afford you and your business the legal protection you need.  You can then get on with doing what you do best, running your business.

We offer complimentary consultations and fixed fees so you never have to worry about going over budget.

Our areas of expertise include

  • Business structuring
  • Shareholder Agreements
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policies
  • Website Terms of Use
  • Competition and Consumer law advice
  • Sale and Purchase of Business
  • Franchise Agreements
  • Partnership and Joint Venture Agreements
  • Contract review, negotiation and drafting
  • Corporate Governance advice
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Articles relating to Business & Commercial Law

6 Contract Hacks for Small Business

As a small business owner, ensuring you have valid, fair and watertight contracts with your manufacturers, suppliers, customers, client, employees, and/or contractors is a vital part of your business success. So at Legally Yours, we have teamed up with our fixed-fee commercial lawyer, Fiona, to provide 6 contract hacks to assist you in this process.

So let’s start with the basics… what exactly is a contract? A contract is a legal document that sets out the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the contract.  It has to contain an offer, acceptance, and a consideration (usually the a dollar value), as well as incorporate protections for both parties in the event that the contract terms are breached.

Below we have set out 6 easy contract hacks that will assist you when entering into contracts as a small business owner:-

Hack 1: Clearly Identify all the Parties to the Contract

That includes the company names, the ABNs, addresses and a contact person for each party to the contract.  If one of the parties is a sole trader, you must include the person’s name as well as well as their business name.

Hack 2: Include a Defined contract Period

Always make sure that you have a defined period of the contract i.e. include a start and an end date to the contract. In the event that it is an ongoing contract, you must ensure that you clearly state this and then this becomes the definition of the defined period of contract.

Hack 3: Outline the Terms of Contract Clearly

Think of the terms like a story. You need to outline who is providing what to whom and how the terms will be carried out and by whom etc. The more detail in the terms the better!

Hack 4: Specify the Payment Terms of the Contract

Payment terms are an absolutely essential part of a contract. These can include the price, the method of calculating the costs of the payment, and/or when payment should be made and the like.  The clearer you are in relation to the payment terms within the contract, the better it is!

Hack 5: Offer & Acceptance

Clearly outline the offer being made and the acceptance of the other party of that offer.  Acknowledging how the party has accepted the offer in the contract is an integral part of the whole deal.  Without this component, it could be very easy for the party who is accepting the offer to assert that they didn’t realise what they were accepting.  Having them tick a box after the offer is stated acknowledging their acceptance is a good way to achieve this, or you could specify that by them performing some specific action, such as making a deposit payment, then this indicates that there has been a ‘meeting of the minds’ and the offer has been accepted.

Hack 6: Outline the Dispute Resolution Process that will be Followed if Contract is Breached

It’s much easier to set out the terms of the dispute resolution process when you’re not in a dispute with the other party of the contract. So doing this at the beginning when you are first entering into a contract is the best way to ensure that there is agreement about the steps that can be taken if one of the party breaches the terms of the contract.  We recommend you include a time frame in regards to resolving the dispute, as well as what steps will be taken to resolve the dispute e.g. mediation, etc.

For watertight legal contracts we would always recommend having a consultation with a commercial lawyer to assist you with the drafting or review of contracts for your small business.  We can connect you with Fiona McCord, who will provide you with a complimentary phone consultation and fixed-fee quote.

 

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed price lawyers. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.  For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

The Basics of Registering a Trademark

So you have a fantastic business idea and you have just registered your business name with ASIC.  You are now ready to start trading, but have you legally protected your business fully?  You may want to consider registering your business as a trademark as well.

In this blog we have teamed up with Jacqui Pryor, our trademarks specialist, to provide you with some basic tips on why you would register a trademark.

Does registering my business name with ASIC protect my business fully?

Simply registering your business name with ASIC does NOT provide you with the ability or power to prevent another person from starting a similar business with a similar name in your location.  To do this, you must have also registered your business as a trademark.

ASIC advises you that it is your responsibility to make sure that the business name you’ve chosen does not infringe upon any registered trademark within Australia. It is your responsibility to undertake this process before commencing trading.  If another business has a registered trademark for a similar name in a similar industry, then they may take action to prevent you from operating your business under that name.  Conversely, once you have registered your business as a trademark, you can take the same action against others.

How does a registered trademark protect my business?

When you register a trademark, you are provided the right to use that particular trademark, whether it be a business name, a logo or a slogan, for your goods and services exclusively. Essentially this means that you can prevent someone from using that business name or perhaps a confusingly similar business name, to which you have registered your trademark.

For example, I register a business called ABC Systems but do not take the additional step of trademarking my business name.  A few months later another similar business starts up called ABC Systems Australia. Because I did not register my business name as a trademark, I could be rendered powerless from preventing them from trading and the result may mean that I lose a lot of customers because they contact this business instead.

Similarly, if a business was to open in a similar location with a similar name, I would be powerless to stop them trading under that name, unless I have a registered trademark.

Trademarks are added protection

The way that our trademark consultant, Jacqui, describes a trademark is that it’s considered a type of insurance over your business name. It gives you that extra-added protection to ensure that you’re protecting your brand, your slogan, and/or your name for your goods and services, and all your hard work in building your business will be protected from someone else starting a similar business with a similar name and effectively taking business from you.

If obtaining a Trademark for your business is something you are considering, then we would love to connect you with Jacqui for a complimentary phone chat and fixed-fee quote.

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed price legal specialists. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Written by Karen Finch from Legally Yours and in consultation with Jacqui Pryor.

Legal Tips to Buying an Established Business

There are many advantages when buying an established business.  Not only are you purchasing a fully functioning business, but you also benefit from purchasing an existing customer base, set supply chain, assets and inventory.

In this blog we share some legal tips provided by our fixed-fee commercial lawyer, Avanthi De Alwis, on how you can minimise your risks when purchasing an established business and hopefully ensure that you purchase the business for the right price!

Head of Guarantee

Before signing a contract to purchase an established business, you may want to consider asking for a head of guarantee clause to be included in the terms.   A head of guarantee is essentially a trial period where you can observe the daily workings of the business for a limited period of time.  This can be advantageous as it helps to ascertain whether the minimum takings of the business that the vendor has represented in the contract is in fact correct, and in the event that it is not, it may mean you can negotiate a reduction in the purchase price.

A Head of Guarantee is also a further way to gain an understanding of the day-to-day operations of the business and can provide you with an opportunity to speak to employees and suppliers, obtain feedback from customers, check out the equipment and other assets, and gain a better overall understanding of the business you are purchasing.

Minimise Your Risks

Avanthi cautions, however, against using a Head of Guarantee as the sole means of decision making when purchasing an established business.  Avanthi strongly recommends obtaining financial advice from a financial professional, and to complete the proper due diligence prior to signing any contact to purchase an established business.

Avanthi also cautions that some vendors may inflate sales during the trial period, so it is always good to take seasonal fluctuations into consideration.  For example if you are purchasing a small café with a large alfresco area in the summer months, this may mean that minimum takings are a lot higher than perhaps they are in the colder months and you need to make an adjustment for this fluctuation.

So if you are thinking of purchasing an established business and you would like to speak to a fixed-fee commercial lawyer, please contact us at www.legallyyours.com.au. We will connect you with Avanthi for a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote.

 

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed price commercial lawyers. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Written by Mira Stammers and Karen Finch from Legally Yours and in consultation with Avanthi De Alwis.

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