Over the past 16 months, the UK’s lockdown has created a marked increase in “Instagram businesses” whereby individuals are capitalising on the platform’s ability to provide immediate access to an abundance of potential customers (usually starting locally and growing geographically with their following).
Of course, the prospect of being able to promote your product/service to potential customers with the simple click of a button is an alluring proposition for anybody starting out. As a business gains more customers, certain areas of it can get neglected while there is a focus on growth. However, there are some areas we would always advise you to consider as soon as possible and we have detailed some of these below.
Incorporation & Business Entity
You may decide to take this decision from day one, however many individuals often start their business as a sole trader until they feel that it has grown enough to warrant considering a different business structure or they may simply continue as a sole trader. However, incorporation does offer a number of legal benefits, with possibly the most important being a company’s separate legal personality. Legally, a company is a separate legal entity and so can enter into contracts itself and as such, liability for such contracts is moved to the company.
A company is also not the only form of corporate entity available, for example, depending on the business’ requirements, it may be more suitable to operate as a general partnership or limited liability partnership (LLP).
Before embarking on a change in corporate entity, we would also always advise that you speak with your accountant to properly understand any tax implications for such a change to the way your business operates and to discuss your future plans.
Terms & Conditions
As a business grows its customer base, it is vital that it protects itself with a robust set of terms and conditions, otherwise it could be left exposed by relying solely on statutory provisions. You can have terms and conditions which are tailored for the business’ website (if there is one) and also have separate terms for dealing with customers and suppliers.
You should be aware that where a business deals directly with consumers there are much more stringent rules on what can and can’t be included in terms and conditions, however, it is still important that a business is in the strongest possible position in the event of a customer dispute or other issue where protection is required.
If you would like some further information in relation to terms and conditions and what they could offer your business, please see the following link: https://bhwsolicitors.com/news/guide-to-terms-and-conditions-of-business/
Branding is always important, but with a business which is using Instagram and other social media platforms to grow, it is vital that this is protected to ensure competitors don’t take advantage of your work and ultimately poach potential customers.
One of the more commonly used brand protections is the trademark. A trademark can be defined as a sign which can distinguish your goods and services from those of your competitors, usually this takes the form of a logo, word or phrase that is associated with your business.
Trademarks can be registered with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK and last for 10 years, before they need to be renewed.
If you would like some further information in relation to trademarks and what they could offer your business, please see the following link: –https://bhwsolicitors.com/news/guide-to-registering-a-trademark/
Legal advice for your Instagram business
BHW offers a full suite of market leading commercial and corporate services. If you are setting up or have recently set up an Instagram business and wish to discuss how we might be able to best protect you and your new venture, please call us on 0116 289 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.