As your business grows you may find that the rules and regulations (including shareholders' agreements) under which it has been run since start-up are no longer suitable. We can conduct an audit of your governing documents and provide advice on how they can be updated to keep pace with the development of your business.
We can help with all aspects of growth by acquisition. It is important to negotiate the right commercial and legal deal, and to look carefully at how the target company will integrate into your existing business from legal, financial, practical and employee relations perspectives.
As greater value is built in the company's shares, founders may wish to consider how best to protect that value if they become critically ill or die.
Customers and suppliers
It is important to review your contractual arrangements regularly during the life of your business to ensure they are still fit for purpose. For example:
- Have the key risks in your business changed over time and, if so, should your contractual documentation be updated to reflect this?
- Has there been a change in law or regulation that needs to be reflected in your supply or customer contracts?
- Has the scope of your commercial contracts changed over time and, if so, do those contracts accurately reflect this?
As you look towards the expansion of your business you may wish to appoint agents, distributors or franchisees to reach new customer streams or new locations. Agency, distribution and franchising bring their own benefits, risks and regulatory issues. It is important to find the right approach for your business and to implement this properly and effectively.
Employees and share schemes
As your business develops, so do your staff requirements. Key areas to review at this stage are:
- Is your management team effective and well-structured and do you have succession plans in place?
- Are your employment contracts and policies still appropriate for your growing workforce?
- Could you better manage employee performance, disciplinary issues and employee disputes to minimise disruption and cost to the business?
- Would your company benefit from a share option or other employee incentive scheme?
We can take you through the various options available and assist in setting up the most appropriate arrangements for your business.
Whether growing organically or by acquisition, there are several different ways of raising additional finance for your business, for example through banks, venture capital/private equity funds or individual investors.
You may already have existing investors or banks prepared to provide this or you may be looking for new types of funding or investors.
Whatever your situation, we can talk you through the options and advise on the process.
Innovation and intellectual property
As your business grows, understanding how to protect and extract value from your IP becomes even more important. Topics to consider include:
- How to protect inventions as and when these develop?
- Who owns or controls the IP which the business creates, whether through its employees or third party suppliers, and how can this be managed effectively?
- How can you license rights to and from third parties, and what factors should dictate the terms and conditions of such licences?
- How can your enforce your rights and avoid infringing the rights of others?
As businesses grow, they are likely to need larger and more suitable premises. We can help you to agree appropriate terms for any lease or acquisition. Alternatively, you may need to alter existing premises, or you may need advice in the very complex area of exercising a break notice to get out of an existing lease.
For more information please see our guides:
- "A practical introduction to leases"
- "Altering leasehold premises without tears"
Appropriate tax structuring and use of reliefs may bring greater efficiencies to your business. For example:
- Are you undertaking qualifying R&D activity which could enable you to obtain valuable tax relief?
- Are you extracting profit in the most tax efficient manner?
- Are your key employees appropriately aligned with your interests as a shareholder?