It’s well known that the most difficult time for new businesses is the first couple of years but let’s say you’ve got through that now and you’re now building up a successful business, slowly but surely. There will be particular times when you’ll need a bit of business support, for example when new opportunities come along and you need Contracts drafted. It may be tempting, particularly if you’re doing business with someone you know, just to work on a handshake or “gentleman’s agreement”. The problem is that each of you may have a different understanding of what’s meant by this so I would always say the best thing is to get it in writing. This is particularly important if you’re bringing in new people, particularly at a senior level and it’s absolutely vital when you are taking in a new Director or new Partner into your business.
Getting it down on paper, properly drafted by a lawyer, is extremely important. It’s a good investment of time and money at the beginning so that if the worst should happen and things go horribly wrong, you have something to refer to. You may be taking on a franchise and in those cases there is always a franchise agreement which needs to be carefully considered. It would be a really good idea to secure your position by taking legal advice, as all franchise agreements are different – they impose different, and sometimes quite tricky, restrictions and obligations. Perhaps you are taking on additional funding to help the growth of your business and also, as it grows, taking on employees – all these need proper advice to protect you as the business owner (and billpayer!) so make sure that there are no nasty surprises for you just when you think things are going well.