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Business Start-Up: A Beginners Guide

Published on 4 October 2016 | Modified on 4 October 2016

Written by Stacey Bennett

Starting a new business is exciting, but it can also be daunting with so much to put in place.

At this point in time, legal considerations may be the last thing on your mind, but they are very important and so we’ve outlined the key areas in this helpful business start-up guide.

Business Type

There are three main business types in the UK: Sole trader, partnership and company. The business structure that you choose will determine the potential risk to the owner/investor, the type of finance available and, importantly, the method of start-up.

Naming your business

Your business name is potentially the most important selling tool: it is the first thing that anyone will know about you and the name you choose sends an important message to the public. However, it is important to note that you do not have free rein over the name of your business and you need to ensure that you do not fall foul of naming legislation.

Trading Laws

Legislation such as the Trades Description Act 1968 and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 govern the way in which you can trade; it is therefore essential that you understand the relevant trading laws and how they affect your business.


Not everyone’s favourite topic, but it is crucial you fully understand your tax obligations and to ensure that such obligations are met. Failure to pay your tax on time and in the right amount can be a very costly mistake. It is also sensible to consider whether commercial agreements are structured in the most tax efficient way. Depending upon the size of your business, you may need to charge VAT on products or services that you provide.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property rights protect ideas. It is essential that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that: (1) you are not breaching intellectual property rights; (2) you are protecting your own intellectual property from third party infringement.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when starting up a business and it is vital that you take the correct steps, whilst adhering to the relevant laws. Poole Alcock’s corporate and commercial team are on hand to guide you through this potentially tricky process. Please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team if you need any advice.

Sarah Jarrett – Head of Commercial  01270 619675

Luke Pritchard – Solicitor 01270 619698

Eve Lakin – Solicitor 01270 619698

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