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What common legal issues do small businesses often overlook?

It's better to be safe than sorry. List down the problems that small business owners often ignore or are unaware of that have legal repercussions, and then end up roping in a lawyer until it's too late. 

Top voted answer
Deborah Vella

Deborah Vella at

Top 10% Startup

A common legal issue for small businesses is getting their business structure right. Sometimes its really easy to just start a business without thinking about the legal structure. One thing leads to another and you end up with a mess of who owns what. This has legal risks to you and your business and also immediate tax implications. Before starting a business, you should obtain advice from a lawyer and an accountant.

Kellie Jukkola

Kellie Jukkola, Associate at

And a Trade Marks Attorney! There's a common misconception that business or company name registration provides exclusive rights in a name, when in fact only trade mark registration does this. ASIC might also allow registration of a business or company name that isn't actually available for use because someone has already registered a trade mark for a sufficiently similar name. The business structuring and trade mark registration work hand in hand, because ownership of trade marks is something applicants must get right from the outset - errors in ownership details at the time of application generally cannot be rectified. There may also be tax repercussions for transferring ownership of trade marks at a later date.

Jules Lewin

Jules Lewin, Director at Charthill Legal

Initailly the corrrect  business structure and then ensuring your credit aplication form and terms of trade are in order.They must be fair and comply with consumer law .This will help avoid disputes arising when money is owed or goods are faulty.
If renting premies have your lease checked see if it needs to be a retail lease and wether you can get some months rent free.
You may also need policies and procedures depending on the nature of your business
It is importand to update these every year 
You should also have a succession plan as to wahat happens when you retire and dont forget  a Will which would include your business as part of your assets 
Get legal advice before doing anything         

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