As a business owner/manager you need to know many aspects of the law. Employment, contracts, leasing, partnership, corporations to name a few. Ignorance of some issues can cost you dearly, even leading to bankruptcy. You need someone whose objectivity, knowledge and compassion will guide you through the laws enacted by both State and Federal Governments that affect your business.
Other significant issues are – the law around the purchase and sale of the business – partnership and shareholder agreements – franchises – employee share options – leases, retail and commercial, trade practices and fair trading legislation – taxation law and GST – domain names and IT issues – maintenance agreements – equipment and software – insurance, bankruptcy & insolvency.
You need to know what is required in establishing a business and what is required to operate a business.
Purchase or sale of a business
There are many issues you need to consider whether you are establishing a business or taking over an existing business. Is it a going concern? GST issues – proper value for plant and equipment. Securing the services of key employees. Securing proper tenure to the business premises. Assignment of contracts, assignment of leases, warranties.
As a purchaser you need to secure warranties to enable you to recover damages should the business turn out not to be as represented at the time of the purchase. You also need to carry out due diligence on the business – the extent of the due diligence will vary depending on the type of business.
On the other hand, if you are the vendor you will want to limit your warranties, including limiting them as to time and amount.
Australian laws regarding employees are wide-ranging and strict and anyone who does not comply with them risks being sued by an employee or prosecuted by authorities. We have a split system. If you run your business as a sole trader or partnership, then the NSW industrial relations system applies. If your business is operated through a corporation, then the federal employment laws apply.
There are issues about employee entitlements, workers compensation, employment termination issues, summary dismissal, retrenchments, redundancies, harassment and occupational health & safety (OH&S) issues that must be addressed. Very severe penalties both civil and criminal apply for breaches.
Workcover’s role should be understood. It is a growing area of the law which is becoming more complex. You need to keep up to date.
Failure to have a proper lease has caused many a business to fail. Rent increase clauses make-good clauses, options, additional payments for outgoings, guarantees, and ratchet clauses.
What is appropriate – should it be a retail lease under the Retail Leases Act? There is no such thing as a good or bad lease; it depends on your circumstances and what you expect and require.