The 2020s have seen a remarkable shift toward small businesses. From socially conscious consumers wanting to leave a more positive impact on the world through their spending habits, to creative entrepreneurs who have the drive and passion to go at it alone, the scales are well and truly starting to tip in favor of the small business. Still, for anyone working (or looking to get started) in this arena, there are many things to consider and get proactive about, in order to ensure longevity and smooth sailing over the coming years. Law firms that hold extensive specialist experience in law for businesses such as Willans will be able to offer legal expertise on all of the matters listed below. Reaching out to a reputable firm like this one early on will mean that your business is prepared against any potential storms – storms that tend to gather during times of growth and change in the business world. Read more below. Corporate law Corporate law is, as the name suggests, an incredibly broad and far-reaching discipline – one that demands extensive knowledge and experience in order to master. No busy business-owner – whether that business is small, or internationally renowned – has the time to spare to get to grips with the complex and highly nuanced world of corporate law. From business formation and governance to shareholders’ rights and duties, getting your business aligned with the demands of corporate law is one of the most important things you can do. Commercial law No business operates in a bubble, and even a relatively small business will need to rely on a wider network of connections in order to operate and, of course, grow over time. Suppliers and other businesses that impact the day to day running of your own business cannot be treated casually – there needs to be a reliable framework in place. This isn’t something that you want to approach casually, or on an as-and-when basis. It may work in those first few weeks of doing business, but it can’t sustain any growing business for long. Drawing up the appropriate contracts is one of the greatest securities you can afford your business, and is not a step you should consider delaying or skipping. Employment Law Whether you’re still a ways from employing your first team member, or actively looking to start expanding in the coming weeks, considering how you can protect your employees (and the business) is absolutely essential. Employment law is an incredibly complex area of law, and it’s constantly evolving to keep up with the times. From creating your company policies, to drawing up employment contracts, you’ll want to consult with a solicitor on this – if not, you could run into troubled waters in the future, particularly with regard to the business’s reputation. Intellectual Property Law Your business’s IP will come to represent one of its most valuable assets, and not putting the proper framework in place ahead of time could lead to you missing out on the benefits of your hard work and creativity. Consulting with an experienced solicitor on any trademarks, patents, copyrights and creative rights your business may have is of the upmost importance for any business owner. If not, you could lose what is rightfully yours, or you may have trouble defending your rights should someone infringe your IP – and all the opportunities that come with it. In the beginning, it’s all too easy to get by on the belief that original ideas are automatically protected by the law. While this is true for copyright, overlooking the significance of intellectual property law will leave your business (or, more specifically, the very lifeblood of your business) vulnerable. It’s also important to remember that, while intentional copying is often seen as the biggest risk for companies who have not legally protected their IP, it’s also possible for this to happen inadvertently. You may need your solicitors’ help if you accidentally infringe on another business’s or individual’s intellectual property. Commercial Property Law Even if this still feels a way off, preparing to move into a new office space or commercial premises is an important step practically any growing business will need to take sooner or later. As with private renting, you need to make sure that your interests (and, by extension, the business’s interests) are protected against any worst-case-scenarios, and that you understand your obligations under the tenancy so that you do not find that you may incur any unexpected costs. Talking through your plans with an expert is essential. As we mentioned above, no business operates in a bubble. As a business owner, you need to be keenly aware of the relevant areas of law that will not only protect your business from worst case scenarios, but also help it to grow and develop.