We are just over Halloween but that doesn’t mean all the scary business stuff has disappeared off the face of the earth.
This week over at Jamieson Law we have been talking about all things spooky! Whether that be having your trademarks in place, supplier agreements up to date or shareholders agreements dotted and signed, you need to make sure you understand why these things are essential. If you don’t have them in place, you’re opening yourself up to legal risk, and we don’t want that – running a business is scary enough without the legal stuff scaring you even further!
1. Brand Protection
This is vital for a flourishing business – you wouldn’t want to spend all of your time, energy, and money to grow your business for it not to be properly protected. Not protecting your brand opens your business up to significant risk. When you weigh the cost of brand protection against the cost of dealing with a brand dispute, it’s a no-brainer.
If your business name hasn’t already been trademarked, you could accidentally infringe on someone else’s trademark. If there are trademarked names similar/identical to your business name within the same industry, you could be forced to rebrand at some stage in the future. It’s a ticking timebomb.
· Check the UK trademark register to find this out ASAP, you can do it here – www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark
2. Contracts (all of them)
Now, we know how important contracts are, every solicitor could go on about this until the sun comes up. What are some of the vulnerabilities you could be facing?
Simply not having the right contracts in place to fit, cover and protect your business opens you up to risk. Look at your business from a legal perspective and figure out which contracts you need to have in place. Some of the basics are customer terms and conditions and employment contracts. If you have shareholders, then get a shareholders agreement asap! Do you deal with suppliers? Then you need a supplier agreement!
If you have a business idea / product that you would like to launch but are worried about confidential information getting out about it, then get an NDA in place.
3. Data Protection and GDPR
This is incredibly important, and you need to be aware of your business’s obligations surrounding this. Non-compliance with data protection regulations could land you hefty fines. Here’s what to be aware of:
You need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as you will collect personal data. This is a fee you pay annually. If you don’t do this, you could be fined. If you haven’t registered, do it now.
· To make sure you aren’t opening yourself up to any data protection weaknesses or vulnerabilities, nominating a person in your business responsible for data protection is handy. Also, think carefully about who needs to access customer personal data and restrict those who don’t. Add to your to-do list to encrypt, and password-protect personal data, particularly when laptops/mobile devices are taken off premises that could get lost or stolen.
· When becoming aware of a data breach, ensure you report this to the ICO without delay, definitely no more than 72 hours later!
· Marketing emails should only be sent when customers have provided consent to such contact, AND this consent can be withdrawn at any time; you will need to heed their request so as not to fall foul of the ICO.
Keeping on top of these vulnerabilities is extremely important to reduce business risk as you scale and grow. If you feel like you could benefit from some one-to-one advice, please take advantage of our free 15-minute legal advice calls, where you can ask any legal questions relating to your business. You can book a slot by going to our Calendly page –