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Top tips to improve your business over summer

View profile for Christopher Burke
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Summer's here - and we have some top tips for you to consider if your business is quiet over the holiday period.

If your business is quieter over the summer months, use the time to review your business procedures and do some housekeeping. We've set out a few tips for you to consider. These tips relate to issues that are important but maybe not urgent – issues that are often put to one side while your business deals with the day-to-day business.

Summer provides a good opportunity to deal with issues that have been niggling you. If any of the tips below touch a raw nerve, pick up the telephone and talk through the issues with us.

Got a dispute brewing?

If you have a dispute with a commercial partner, it can be tempting to sweep it under the carpet until autumn arrives. But doing that may waste valuable time – and could damage any goodwill that remains in your commercial relationship.

Take steps to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Read our checklist on what to do if you can't sort out a dispute. If the dispute is getting worse, give us a call.

(Christopher Burke, head of Commercial Litigation)

Are you owed money and need to recover outstanding debts?

Is your business owed money? Is the debt affecting your cash flow?

There are various steps you can take to recover a debt. For example, a letter before action can often produce immediate results. Whatever the situation, do not extend any more credit to the debtor. You should take firm action – and swiftly – to recover the debt. If the debtor owes money to other creditors, they may be at risk of insolvency. Once insolvent, your chances of recovering any of the debt reduce dramatically.

Read more about our debt recovery services here

(Aaron Marshall, solicitor, Commercial Litigation)

Running a limited company? Have you got a shareholder's agreement?

If you are running a business as a limited company or are thinking of setting up a company, you should have a shareholders' agreement in place. A shareholders' agreement sets out the rights, duties and obligations of the shareholders as between one another and the company. Drafted properly, a shareholders' agreement works in tandem with the company's articles of association. It creates certainty as to how the company should be run, protects the individual shareholders and the company, and reduces the scope for future disagreements. If disagreements do arise then a shareholders' agreement includes mechanisms for resolving those disputes before they escalate. In short, shareholders' agreements are money well spent. 

To find out more about shareholders' agreements, read this article. Or call Keith Kennedy to discuss the benefits of putting a shareholders' agreement in place. 

(The same need arises in traditional partnerships or limited liability partnerships (LLPs) - partners or LLP members should have a partnership/LLP members' agreement in place to set out and regulate their rights, duties and obligations.)

(Keith Kennedy, head of Company/Commercial)

Thinking of a management buyout?

If you are a business owner and considering exiting the business by selling your shares, the sooner you take specialist advice, the better deal you are likely to achieve. A management buyout (MBO) is one way of achieving an exit, but as with all exits, requires careful planning to work successfully. 

You can read about a recent MBO we handled for Glendale Foods here or speak to Keith Kennedy or Jennifer Handler about what is involved on MBOs, or on sales to third party purchasers. We will guide you through the process from start to finish and work with your tax advisers to help you to maximise the value in your business. 

(Jennifer Handler, solicitor, company/commercial team)

Tip for landlords and business owners who lease their property

If you have some leases coming up for renewal in the autumn, review the terms of the lease now – don't leave it until the last minute.  Getting professional help does not cost as much as you'd think – and could save you a lot of time, effort and money later on.

Read more about lease reviews, here.

(Karen Pointek, head of Property)

Thinking of a buy-to-let purchase?

As people relax over summer, talk often turns to property improvement, extensions or acquisitions. If you're thinking of investing in a buy-to-let property, there a number of issues you should consider before starting your search. You'll need to think about: the purchase itself and what's involved in buying a buy-to-let property; the payment of stamp duty; dealing with letting agents; the relationship between a landlord and tenant; which regulations you will be subject to as a landlord; finding tenants; and drawing up tenancy agreements.

Don't wait until you've found the property – speak to us early on. Working with our financial services team, we can help you to make the right decision for your circumstances.

Read more here

(Karen Pointek, head of Property)

Employers – review policies, procedures and contracts

Businesses are constantly evolving, employees come and go and technology marches on. Keep up with all these changes and check that your workplace policies and procedures are up to date. Summer is an ideal time for employers to carry out reviews. For example, have you got – or do you need - policies to cover the following:

  • Absence and sickness 
  • Behaviour and dress in the workplace 
  • Anti-discrimination in the workplace 
  • Discipline and grievance procedures 
  • Home or remote working 
  • Pay, expenses and pensions 
  • Social media 
  • Data Protection 
  • Use of information technology 
  • Anti-bribery 

Read more about workplace policies, here

(Susan Mayall, head of Employment)

Employees: social media tips 

Remember that your social media activities can reflect on your employer. Don't get carried away with summer madness - be careful what you post.

Read more social media tips for employees, here.

(Kate Hunter, solicitor, Employment)

Sorting out your personal arrangements (have you made a will?)

Finally, holidays allow you space to do some blue sky thinking and to review your personal arrangements.  We have a full private client team who can help you with a wide range of issues such as financial planning, separation and divorce, personal injury issues, family law issues and buying and selling a house.

If you are business owner and thinking of what happens after you retire, now might be the time to do some succession planning. This would include making a will. If you die without a will (intestate), it can create problems & legal disputes for the family & employees you leave behind. 

Read more here:

(Sarah Finnigan, solicitor, inheritance and wills)

Contact

For more information on any of the above tips, contact the solicitor referenced above, call 0161 785 3500 or make an enquiry.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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