Owning and managing a business can be stressful
Bendigo, Castlemaine and Kyneton businesses have a lot to gain from engaging a commercial lawyer on an ongoing basis.
You have worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. Lawyers think analytically and strategically, and are detail focused. Having a business lawyer by your side who understands your business and your priorities can help you to make good decisions, avoid mistakes and protect you from risk.
You can think of our lawyers like an insurance policy; an investment in good upfront advice can save you from losing time, energy and money later on.
Our commercial lawyers constantly work with businesses who are negotiating important deals, managing their risk and strategising with them to achieve growth and success. This gives our lawyers a unique perspective on business and how to best approach every transaction you are undertaking, no matter whether you are a start up, a small business or a medium enterprise.
At Robertson Hyetts, we spend countless hours talking to business owners in both formal and informal settings. We understand what is important to you, and the many competing pressures involved in managing a successful business. To make your life easier and save you time, we provide comprehensive legal expertise and advice, focusing on delivering value and results – so you can focus on what you do best, running your business.
By working with Robertson Hyetts you can rest assured knowing that we’ve got you covered. Our lawyers undertake continual professional development keeping up with industry updates, ensuring that we have the latest knowledge to guide your business into the future.
Business & Commercial Services:
Our dedicated team provides skillful representation and counsel in all aspects of business and commercial law including:
Our lawyers in Castlemaine and Bendigo will assess your current situation and give you a professional opinion on how Australian commercial law applies to your circumstances, and advise you on how to improve your situation and manage your risks. This could be as simple as explaining a clause in a contract, or as complicated as responding to a threat to sue.
If you offer your customers standard terms and conditions or payment terms, a quick review of these documents by a business lawyer can guide you and provide you with peace of mind if something goes wrong, ensuring you will be in the best possible position. If you do not already have these business documents, our commercial lawyers can prepare documentation tailored to your business needs. Our lawyers will help you to avoid common mistakes which lead to unfair contract terms which may be investigated by Consumer Affairs or the ACCC.
Are you a partnership, a company or a trust? Do you know the difference? Is the structure you have the most appropriate one for your business and stage of growth? The structure that you need will depend on what type of business you run, who is involved, the income and assets held in the business and how much money you want to spend. A structure can change as you grow, however there can be costs and tax implications. A discussion with one of our team can help you to assess the difference and if required, our Bendigo and Castlemaine lawyers can help you to restructure.
Buying a business
Our lawyers regularly assist our clients to buy businesses. You might buy a business once or twice in your lifetime. Our lawyers will guide you throughout the process, so you can hit the ground running. By engaging in proper preparation and comprehensive due diligence, we can ensure that the entire business is transferred to you, identify the risks and make sure you are not inheriting the debt of the previous owner. Due diligence is a vital process and should be undertaken together with your trusted legal advisers.
Robertson Hyetts act for countless landlords and tenants each year. In addition to drawing up lease documents, our lawyers also handle rent reviews, lease renewals, lease transfers when businesses change hands, advice on breaches of lease terms and managing the end of a lease. Where required, our business lawyers will send notices of default on your behalf, recover debt, represent you at the Small Business Commission or initiate proceedings in VCAT and the Magistrates Court.
Whether you are buying into a franchise, currently operating a franchise and having some difficulty, or looking to sell your business, our commercial law solicitors can provide you with the advice needed to support a fruitful business relationship with your franchiser. Franchising has its own set of laws, and our business lawyers have experience with these laws and how they apply to franchising agreements. We can create water tight contract agreements that work within Australian contract law for franchises.
Our lawyers can prepare the legal documentation required to record a contract agreement between you and another person, or company, or between business owners. Deterioration in a relationship or poor memory can lead to disputes about what was originally agreed. By going through a formal process of recording your agreements, common scenarios that lead to disputes can be discussed and recorded in formal agreements. Our commercial lawyers are often engaged to resolve disputes when agreements have not been documented, and can help you avoid these common mistakes in the future.
Robertson Hyetts can help you to identify and protect your intellectual property. Should you be using confidentiality agreements? What is a trade mark? Someone has breached my copyright, what do I do? Our lawyers have the experience and expertise to point you in the right direction and ensure your intellectual property is protected.
By engaging a business lawyer to assist you in negotiations, you can outsource the stress and rely on the skills that lawyers develop through years of training. Our lawyers are often able to negotiate more advantageous terms to contracts which are provided to our clients, or add terms which provide our clients with certainty, flexibility and options if things go wrong.
Selling a business
The process of selling a business should be commenced three years prior to offering the business for sale, or as soon as possible. This will include an audit of your business assets and securing any assets that are not secure, and increasing profitability. Talk to your financial and legal advisers in advance about your plans. We can prepare all of the necessary paperwork to sell your business and ensure that there are no remaining risks to you, once settlement is complete.
The law relating to social media may have been slow to develop but there is an evolving set of laws that must be complied with. Traditional advertising laws continue to apply. Additionally, there is a growing set of case law about employees and their use of social media. We can review your social media policies to identify potential issues and prepare social media policies.
Start up business documents
Our legal team have developed comprehensive checklists to help us to identify your exposure to risk and provide you with the legal documents that you need. Your idea might rely on secrets – do you use confidentiality agreements when discussing your idea? You might be looking for investors – do you have an investment agreement and a shareholders agreement so that your investors know what they are buying? Do you know what Australian commercial laws apply to the industry you are getting into? Our Bendigo and Castlemaine lawyers have helped many businesses to get off the ground and are able to help you to strategise and prioritise within your budget.
Succession planning focuses on continued success in times of change. You can be left exposed when the personal circumstances of those involved in the ownership or management of your business change through divorce, illness, death, retirement or otherwise. With regards to Australian commercial law, our lawyers approach succession planning as a big picture examination of your assets and responsibilities and identifying how best they can be smoothly managed in all types of situations. This can involve putting in place buy-sell agreements, wills and estate planning.
Customer complaints are a fact of business. Understanding your obligations under Australian consumer law, particularly in relation to advertising, is important and can help you to avoid customer complaints. Our legal team will review your advertisements and your social media accounts to make sure you are compliant with current trades practices law.
Banking & Finance
Our Banking & Finance team can assist you with the preparation and execution of mortgage, securities, and project finance documentation. We also provide services for the preparation of default and bankruptcy documentation. Need help understanding your loan or preparing and executing loan documents? Our Bendigo and Castlemaine lawyers are more than happy to help.
Commercial Law FAQs
If the sale price of the business is $450,000 or less, you will need your accountant to prepare a section 52 statement to provide to a purchaser. Both parties will also need to enter a sale of business contract which sets out the terms of the sale and obligations of the parties.
A Section 52 statement is a disclosure statement that the owner of a small business must provide to a prospective purchaser outlining the financials of the business for the preceding 2 years. This statement follows the legal requirements set out in Section 52 of the Estate Agents Act 1980.
Your intellectual property (IP) is a vital asset that adds significant value to your business. You should develop an IP strategy to protect this asset. Your strategy should include:
· registering IP that is capable of registration;
· ensuring contractor and employee agreements clarify IP ownership; and
Franchisors are required to provide prospective franchisees with:
· a two-page information statement,
· a disclosure document,
· the franchise agreement,
· a copy of the Franchising Code,
· and a copy of any other document that is to be entered into.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) offers small businesses protection from unconscionable conduct. Section 20 and 22 prevent a person in trade or commerce from engaging in unconscionable conduct. If unconscionable conduct has occurred a small business can seek compensation for losses or damages they have incurred or they can seek to have a term in the contract made void or varied.
Under section 18 of the ACL, persons involved in trade or commerce are prohibited from engaging in conduct that is or is likely to be misleading or deceptive. This is not limited to written statements made in advertising material, it extends to oral and visual representations that are misleading and representations made by silence. Conduct is misleading if it would lead another party into an error and deceptive if it deliberately leads another party into error. You can mislead someone by mistake but you cannot deceive someone by mistake.
This will depend on you and the type of business you run. Common forms of business structure are:
· a sole proprietorship.
· a partnership.
· a limited liability company,
· a trust.
A partnership has several advantages including:
· low set up costs and minimal ongoing costs,
· less regulatory requirements than a company,
· simple and flexible to operate,
· allows each partner to bring a different skill set to the business,
· allows partners to pool their resources so it is less of a financial burden on individual partners.
Although a company has a higher set up cost and ongoing costs to a partnership and requires directors to comply with the directors duties under the Corporations Act it is a separate legal entity to you personally allowing you to separate and protect your personal assets from your business debts