The legal requirements for starting a business can seem intimidating, but obviously these are things you cannot afford to ignore. As well as damage to the business reputation, there are potential fines if you fail to comply with legislation, even if unintentionally. Ignorance is no excuse in law. A great deal of the regulations involved will depend on the nature of your business and some sectors are more regulated than others.
One important thing to remember is that as well as having to comply with the legislation and regulations, these are also in place to protect your business from illegal acts by employees, competitors, customers and suppliers.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a licence from your local authority. Check their websites for full details in your area, but these will include businesses such as: taxis; animal businesses; restaurants/food businesses; tattooists; alcohol sales; hairdressers; street traders; and environmental licences inc. waste disposal, etc.
Childminding and day care facilities will need to register with OFSTED (in England), and this can take several months.
It is always a good idea to find out which licences are a legal requirements for starting a business in your chosen sector.
If you are going to employ staff you will need to ensure you have covered all employment law issues, from terms and conditions, to staff handbooks and written contracts, as well as ensuring the person is entitled to work in the UK. Many businesses employ the services of a HR Consultant to give peace of mind, as employment law is constantly changing and you will need to keep ahead of the game. Have a look at the ACAS website for further information and find out more about what you need to take into consideration when taking on staff.
Gain an understanding of tax law. VAT registration is not optional once you have reached the revenue threshold, this changes year-on-year so ensure that you are up to date.
If you are a Limited Company, then corporation tax rates need to be checked. If you employ staff, the new PAYE reporting regulations will apply to you. To gain further information on the legal requirements for starting a business in terms of your taxes, have a look at the Gov.uk website in relation to HMRC.
Some insurances for your business are not mandatory, but advisable, and others are compulsory, such as Employer’s Liability Insurance. Always seek advice to ensure you have the appropriate insurance for your business. There are many specialist insurance brokers you can talk to or trade associations who often have special member deals.
If you play music that can be heard by members of the public, you may need a licence from the Performing Rights Society, to find out more information look at www.prsformusic.com.
Whilst you may have Intellectual Property for your business, you do need to ensure you are not breaching that of any other business by trade mark, design, copyright infringement (think about your business name), even down to the images you may use on social media. Check out www.ipo.gov.uk for further information.
Health and Safety
Health and Safety for your business is a must, visit www.hse.gov.uk for a wealth of advice and information, including how to carry out risk assessments. There is a minimum standard for health and safety no matter what the nature of your business is.
If you have five or more employees, it is a legal obligation to have a written risk assessment. Ensure you have a policy in place that considers the health, safety and welfare of staff, customers and suppliers. In addition, ensure that you have an accident book available and if appropriate a first aid kit.
Environmental issues must also be considered and there are no ceilings to potential fines. If you use a contractor to remove your waste, it is your responsibility to ensure they are legally permitted to do so. Disposal of electrical goods and equipment must be done so under the WEEE regulations.
The GDPR and Data Protection Act gives clear guidance on how customer and employee information should be used, stored and retrieved. The government website gives a lot of guidance and advice which we strongly suggest you look at to ensure you understand the regulations.
Consider your obligations from the outset, and seek support and advice on your particular venture to avoid problems further down the line. You should get all of the important advice and support now, rather than when things go wrong and your reputation is damaged, or even worse you are in breach of legislation.
Are you thinking about starting, growing, or scaling your business? Hear about how the Growth Hub helpdesk can help you by providing the latest business support, tailored to your needs.
Mike Pennington, a familiar name in the UK media industry, has recently joined the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub as a Business Relationship Manager. In 2023, he'll be bringing his expertise to businesses in our region and connecting them with the Made Smarter scheme.
Employers across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding are being reminded that it’s their last chance to take advantage of free training and support through the Skills Support for the Workforce Programme before the it ends in March 2023.
15th February 20239:00 am - 5:00 pmFREE
This free drop-in service based in Harrogate can help answer your questions and direct you to relevant business support, resources and programmes.
22nd February 20239:00 am - 4:30 pmFREE
Are you a small to medium sized food or drink business that wants to win more business and need to plan the perfect pitch? This full day workshop will help you understand what buyers are looking for and give you the confidence to pitch to them.
01st March 20234:00 pm - 6:00 pmFREE
In this two-hour session, Ian Howard will introduce The Enterprise Growth Roadmap. Regardless of where you are at right now, whether you are just launching your business, trying to make sense of the number of opportunities available to you or looking to attract external investment, the Enterprise Growth Roadmap Planning Workshop will help you create a framework to develop your own growth strategy together with some simple steps to help you implement it.
A free digital glossary defining the key climate change terms relevant to businesses, to help you understand and engage with sustainability resources and support.
We have recently hosted a programme of in-person seminars and other events, some of which were professionally recorded and can now be viewed on our website.
This workshop will provide guidance on cost based pricing, calculating your costs before deciding an appropriate margin, as well as covering market based pricing asking questions such as: What value do you add? What are you worth? How do you position yourself?