write your summary of legal, regulatory & licensing issues for your business.
One of the first things you will need to do is to decide on the business structure that best suits your needs. Your options range from sole proprietorships, to partnerships, to limited or incorporated companies, to co-operatives. A lawyer can help you choose the correct form of business structure, based on the number of people involved, the type of business, any tax issues or liability concerns and the financial requirements.
Your lawyer can also help you draw up the necessary legal documents that set out the terms of any partnership or other shared ownership. This will help ensure that all parties will be treated fairly, and that there is a mechanism for handling any disputes or disagreements.
Buying an existing business
If you wish to buy an existing business, you may have to decide whether to buy only the assets of the business or, in the case of an incorporated company, the shares of that company. With any business purchase, you should have a buy-and-sell agreement, signed by both parties, that spells out the demands and obligations of each, as well as the terms of the agreement (for example, non-competition provision).
Leasing commercial space
You may be inclined to begin by taking out a lease for your premises. However, leases can be one of your largest expenses. Make sure that your lease will be suitable to your business needs, in case you wish to break your lease or expand your business. A lawyer can give you advice on any pitfalls or costs that may be incurred, before you sign on the dotted line.
• Choosing and setting up a location
Trying to decide where to locate your business and how to arrange it once you get there? Consider your options.
• Signing a commercial lease
To ensure your business needs are met, be aware of the many things you need to consider when negotiating a commercial lease.
Drawing up contracts and agreements
You may want to get the advice of a lawyer when you are drawing up legal contracts and agreements in areas such as:
• Partnership, incorporation or shareholders
• Purchasing or obtaining a mortgage
This is not a comprehensive list. At a minimum, it is advisable to contact a lawyer before you sign any contract.
Seeking equity financing
If you plan to seek equity financing for your business, it is important to contact a lawyer to help you draw up the terms of the shareholder agreement and/or to review the legal documents provided by a potential investor. Your lawyer can also help you assess the impact of any new shareholder agreement on other obligations and existing contracts with employees, suppliers or financial institutions.
• Accessing equity financing
Learn how to plan for and negotiate a deal with potential investors in order to obtain equity financing for your business.
Other issues requiring legal advice
There may be other situations where you need to seek the advice of a lawyer in order to determine the best course of action. These include:
• Environmental complaints or concerns
• Employee problems or conflicts
• Disagreements between business partners
• Business closure
• Protection of intellectual property
Anytime you are unsure about the legality of something, or if the legality of your business practices is questioned, you should be sure to get the advice of a lawyer.
If you have used a lawyer before, he or she may be able to refer you to a business lawyer, one who specializes in small business start-ups. Ask your business associates, friends and family for references of law firms they have used and received satisfactory services from in the past.
Take the time to search for the expertise needed for your business. Make a list of potential lawyers you wish to meet. Some lawyers may offer a free, first-time consultation to establish expectations on both sides and evaluate a potential working relationship.
Make sure you understand your lawyer's billing practices. If you think it may be a little while before revenue comes in to your business, you will have to make arrangements with your lawyer ahead of time.
When you do business with a customer over the Internet, you often collect information that can potentially be useful outside of the transaction. If you use any of that information in a way which can be linked back to the customer and without the customer's knowledge or consent, you are violating their privacy rights. It is up to you to properly destroy that information or to keep it secure.
• Privacy and your business
If you collect, use or disclose personal information about individuals, you need to understand your privacy obligations.
In addition to the way privacy laws apply in the offline world, there are some things to think about when dealing with the Internet and e-business.
You should fully understand how your business carries out relevant privacy law requirements.
• If you use Web cookies or similar identifiers to track visitors, you will probably want to let visitors know by posting a policy on the website.
• Depending on the circumstances, you may need to get consent before profiling someone online.
If you create a policy, follow it precisely. Failing to do so is an invitation for disaster, including not only possible legal problems, but also injury to your reputation and goodwill.
It is important to review the policy even after it has been posted. It should be revisited regularly to determine whether or not it is still accurate and to evaluate whether or not it should be revised according to your business goals and objectives.
5.Credit and debit card handling
Your e-commerce business depends on trust between you and your customers. Violating that trust can have disastrous effects, not only on you, but on your partners in e-commerce, such as your bank, payment gateway, and credit card company.
• Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council
If you handle debit and credit cards in your business, learn about applying information security best practices.
6.Legal requirements for e-business
In general, all existing laws that apply to traditional commerce apply equally in an electronic environment. These include things like laws governing business incorporation, business name registration, taxation, consumer protection, deceptive advertising, importing/exporting, product safety, product standards, criminal code, inter-provincial trade treaties, intellectual property and liability. Your business, regardless of its size, must comply with the laws of any jurisdiction, both within and outside of Canada, where it is deemed to be conducting business.