Starting a new business

Starting a new business is exciting and scary. So why do you need a lawyer when you are starting out? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Getting the structure right: You’ve decided to start a business and the first thing you do is incorporate a company. How do you do this (and can you do it yourself)? What should you call your company (and does it matter)? Who are the directors and shareholders going to be? Does your company have a constitution (and does it need one)?
  2. Customer contracts: It goes without saying that customers are the lifeblood of any business. But what does your customer contract need to say so that you make sure that (a) you get paid and (b) you don’t get sued?
  3. Hiring people: To begin with, you are your company’s sole employee – how do you pay yourself and make sure that the tax and ACC and Kiwisaver is taken care of? When you start hiring contractors and employees (and what is the difference), what are your obligations?
  4. Intellectual property: You’ve got yourself a company name and a domain name – so does that mean your brand is protected? If not, what else do you have to do? How do you stop others stealing your name or your ideas or from copying you?

Just remember, you aren’t the first person who has ever started a business – but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy or that you have to make the same mistakes as many of the others who went before you. With the help of good legal and accounting advice, you can get ahead of the pack and avoid problems in future.