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How to set up a local business

Business Essentials – The fundamental bits to setting up a local business

Setting up your own business is never as easy as 1, 2, 3. There are countless things you have to consider, and the process itself can involve a lot of work – making the whole thing feel like a seemingly impossible task.

We’re here to convince you otherwise by breaking down the process of setting up your very own local business.
First things first – research. As much as you’re dying to get trademarking and creating a website, it’s important to do as much research as you can bear. Think about it- imagine spending hours designing a logo, creating a website, and getting all of the initial set-up done, only to find that no one in your area has any need for your business? It doesn’t bear thinking about, but it may be the case if you fail to do thorough research.

This is why it’s important to take to the internet and elsewhere to get to know your area and potential clients. For example; say you wanted to start a company that sold sports clothing. You could explore your local area to see if there are any existing sports clothing stores, could Google if your local area has any sports teams, or even survey people in a shopping centre to see if they would find a sports clothing store useful.

All of these are perfect ways to judge if there’s any interest in your business venture, as well as sussing out any competition or a gap in the market. If you have competition, you may need to find a unique selling point or modify your business venture somehow. If there are no other companies of your kind in your local area, even better!
If you think there’s a possible interest in your business venture, then you can begin the set-up process!

This process can involve things such as choosing a structure for your business, registering for any licenses, and setting up things such as bank accounts and National Insurance/ VAT arrangements. All of these will vary depending on you and your business, so it’s difficult to offer advice in this article. If anything is a struggle to you (and it’s likely it will be- employment law is difficult even for seasoned business owners to navigate), you may benefit from finding help from an employment solicitor or a financial solicitor.

You’ll also have to trademark your business name and logo, build a website, find office space...again, the obstacles you’ll have will depend on you and your business. Any doubts you have or assistance you need, make sure to contact an experienced employment solicitor. All being well, you should be well on your way into starting the business of your dreams!

The early days of your business

So, your business is finally on its feet, and everything is going fairly well – so much so, in fact, that you feel as though you could do with an extra set of hands to help you out. If only it were as easy as that. Unfortunately, hiring an extra employee often requires a little bit more work than most people bargain for.

One way you can make the task of hiring employees a fraction easier is by brushing up on your knowledge of employment law. Employment law covers a wide array of topics; too many to list, in fact. Ultimately, it concerns anything that mediates the relationship between workers, employers, trade unions, and the government.
This could be anything from what’s included in the employment contract, to employee rights, to how to manage your employees.

We’ll briefly look at the employment contract, first- it’s the thing you’re likely to encounter first when looking at hiring someone new.

Employment contracts

Every employee that you hire must have an employment contract. Although they can be verbal, it’s much safer and much more professional to have a written, signed one. Employment contracts set out four key ‘terms’; employment conditions, rights, responsibilities, and duties. Both the employee and the employer must stick to the contract until it ends – that is the employee being dismissed, an employee giving notice, or if the terms are changed.
If you need assistance with creating a proper employment contract, contacting an employment solicitor would be your best bet.

What do I do if....?

It’s a few months down the line, you’ve hired one or two people, and business is booming.

That doesn’t mean that its all plain sailing from now on, though. Eventually, even if you hire only one other employee, you’ll encounter something such as sickness, a dispute, or an accident/injury.

Part of being a successful business owner and employer is knowing what to do when such events occur.  It’s best to research what to do early on, so they can be included in the employment contract you create, if applicable.
In a worst-case scenario, such as one where an injury occurs, a dispute cannot be settled, or you have no other choice to make an employee redundant, you can seek help from several sources.

Injury solicitors, dispute lawyers, and redundancy solicitors are all at hand to offer assistance, should you need them. It’s always best to know where to turn to, even if you don’t think any of these things will occur in your business. Even getting advice from general employment lawyers is a step in the right direction. If you need advice, Kent law firms such as Thomson Snell & Passmore and Whitehead Monckton are on hand to provide their expertise and extensive knowledge of the industry, how to set up a business and the fundamentals of running a business legally.

Even more law?!

Unfortunately. There are endless other things that it’s best to be in the know about, including corporate law, different business disputes that may arise, and commercial property law.

Getting to grips with employment law can seem overwhelming- even the most experienced of businesspeople struggle sometimes! Fortunately, Kent has a wealth of employment solicitors and lawyers at hand to help you with everything from arranging employment contracts to solving disputes.

It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and courage to do so, but owning a business and watching it flourish can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your entire life!

If you'd like to see your story published here in our "Mad About Kent" blog, do get in touch...





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