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How do you turn it into a successful small business and how does a lawyer help?

In my 30 years of legal practice, I would like a dollar for every time a client has asked me this question.

A great idea for a product or service does not always means it can become a viable and successful business.

Business is hard. Statistics vary but it is accepted that in Australia approximately one in three small businesses in Australia fail in their first year of operation, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year.

They are not encouraging statistics and generally occur due to:

  • financial mismanagement,
  • bad management,
  • poor record-keeping,
  • sales and marketing issues,
  • staffing problems,
  • failure to seek external professional advice, and/or
  • economic conditions and personal factors

What do I need to do to ensure success?

In my experience the most successful businesses I act for have done their homework before embarking on their journey.

The most important preliminary matter is to know your market. 

Undertake a feasibility study to see if there is a demand for your product or service. Is there a market or can you create a market? Do you have the skills, or can you acquire the skills to make the product or provide the service? Who are your competitors? Is the market growing, stagnating, or declining? How much financial backing do you need and where can you obtain it from? and what are the legal requirements?

These are just some of the matters you need to turn your mind to in the first instance.

Once you have conducted your feasibility and believe you can take the next step it is important then to prepare a realistic and detailed business plan.

There is no perfect business plan, but some of the matters you must consider are:

  • Your business structure/s
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Administration, management, and operations
  • Marketing and sales
  • Financial requitements
  • Expert requirements and assistance such as legal, accounting etc.

How can your lawyer help in the process?

Choosing your lawyer as small business owner is one of the most important decisions you will have to make.

Your lawyer will be integral in advising you when setting up your business and thorough the many challenges you face as you grow your business.

Consideration must be given as to what type of structure you want to operate the business through. 

The four commonly used business structures are:

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Company
  • Trust

The structures can be very simple such as a sole trader right through to the more complex structures.

When considering which structure is best for your circumstance consideration must be given to the nature of the business, taxation and revenue implications, risk profile, ownership and decision making.

Once the business structure has been determined, which is generally done in consultation with your accountant, your lawyer will be able to assist with:

  • Contracts and associated legal documents
  • Debt recovery
  • Employment contracts and award advice
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Leasing and property advice
  • License arrangements
  • Risk related issues such as compliance with workplace health and safety issues
  • Succession planning for the business
  • Taxation and revenue related advice

The above is just an example of how your lawyer can assist apart from those times when they can give general advice or be a sounding board, for a problem or a new idea.

The FC Lawyers difference

For nearly 30 years, FC Lawyers has provided legal advice to start ups and small to medium sized business right through their journey.

Our mission is to ensure your success and provide you with a trusted and valued partner to always be at your side, no matter how big or small you are.

Our philosophy is that our clients are our friends, and our friends are our clients.

Do you have a great idea for a product or service?

Contact our experienced team to discuss your needs with your potential great idea or product to see how we can assist you.

The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, FC Lawyers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. FC Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. FC Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.


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