Entrepreneurs and startups typically have a casual approach when it comes to setting up your business or getting the help of a business lawyer. We have all been there, you focus on what you feel are the main aspects and often don’t worry too much about the mountains of legalities and documents you need to have in place.
Here is Velly Bosega’s perception of business lawyers when he started out:
- They are expensive and I don’t have the spare money to afford a business lawyer
- They don’t know or understand my business, so how can they know what I need without taking up a lot of my time learning about my startup
- My business is too small, so why would any lawyer want to do business with me
- I can do it myself by searching on Google and hopefully find the right legal templates that I can use instead
- Do I really need one and what for? I don’t have a big staff compliment and I’m not in any legal battles so why would I need one
Any business needs contracts to help manage and keep their employees, suppliers, freelancers and stakeholders accountable. Sometimes when signing your first agreements, like a fixed term lease, can seem daunting.
It’s always good to have a paper trail, outlining responsibilities between third parties whether you are offering a service or a product. You may need terms & conditions for your store and website (to be inline with the POPI Act too). These documents not only protect your business from getting into trouble with consumers, vendors, partners and stakeholders, but they are the backbone for strong business relationships.
Contracts help protect your brand, ideas and intellectual property. There’s nothing more devastating to an entrepreneur than sharing a business idea and someone else acts upon it. Keep your startup intact by having copyrights in place.
Once you have registered your company, don’t forget that there are other laws that you may need to comply with. A legal advisor, or business lawyer, can guide you on the various topics such as tax laws in South Africa, Privacy laws (POPI Act), health & safety laws, SABS/SANS laws and industry relevant ones that you need to comply with. Plus, they can also tell you how to comply to avoid any hefty fines that m ay come your way as you grow and expand.
Here are the top 6 legal documents you may need to get your startup off the ground
- Company registration at CIPC
- Supplier contracts
- Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Employer Tax Registration (SARS)
- A B-BBEE Affidavit or a B-BBEE Certificate
- COID Registration (Department of Labour)
Don’t waste time trying to Google all of these documents. You don’t have to navigate this tricky path on your own. And it doesn’t have to cost you the earth. Startwise can give you access to a network of business lawyers, who charge a very affordable rate as they would like to help your start-up and SME grow!
Bosega created this network specifically because of the challenges he personally faced as an entrepreneur. And still to this day, he leans on a network of expert colleagues and friends to help guide him on running my businesses effectively. The value Bosega has gotten out of simple coffee chats with fellow entrepreneurs and professionals who have been in the industry for many years, is invaluable. You can’t even put a figure to it.