What's on your mind?
People value different things in a professional relationship; it may be about investing that extra time to understand your issues or about how to reduce your personal risk. What makes the difference for you?
Always about you. On your side so you can be confident about life's big decisions.
Different life stages present different challenges - from buying your first home, starting a career, building wealth, to planning for the future. And all along the route there's a chance of unexpected events such as health issues or injury. And throughout life's journey there are relationships to be handled. At Withy King we're here with you every step of the way...
Clicking on sections of the diagram will reveal information about each lifecycle stage.
Getting it right from the start
You may have that next great business idea or have a burning desire to run your own company and be your own boss. For those with the entrepreneurial spirit, few things compare to the thrill of starting up your own company. Your immediate priority is likely to be how to survive during those first two critical years. It’s easy to overlook the fundamental basics that will protect your business. Getting it wrong can be costly. It might even be fatal for your business.
The people you hire can make or break your new business venture. Whether you hire employees or work with contractors it’s important that you make sure their contracts not only comply with the latest regulations, but also protect your business interests, particularly your vital client data. Your business premises are likely to be one of your biggest outlays, so your commercial lease needs to provide you with the flexibility your business may need in the future. Your supplier contracts can mean the difference between success and failure, so they need to protect you from risk. Start up companies often forget to protect their intellectual property, such as their ideas, logo and trademarks, all of which are vital to the future success of your business.
We realise that it’s all a lot to think about, especially when finances are likely to be stretched. We help new business owners by offering fixed price, retainer and insurance based legal services so that our costs are transparent. Our advice will be jargon free and in plain English. Our Employment, Corporate and Commercial, and Technology and Media specialists will help make your first years of trading as stress free as possible.
Time to expand
Changing needs as your business grows
You’ve got through those critical first years; your new work pipeline is expanding, your business reputation is growing and prospects look good. You may be taking on new company directors, employing a workforce for the first time and taking on new premises. Success is exciting, but as your business grows, so do the demands on you as a business owner. Is your business protected from risk and are you meeting all your responsibilities?
Your people are vital to your business at this stage. New employers are often unaware of their employment responsibilities and duties, but getting employee terms and conditions wrong can mean a costly and disruptive employee dispute. Your trading premises can take on a greater importance as your business grows, but does your current commercial lease provide you with the flexibility you need to expand? You may have got by until now with basic trading contracts, but it’s likely that your business will have outgrown them. Sound contracts, particularly supplier contracts, can reduce your business exposure and risk. An expanding business also needs to be protected from hungry competitors who may try to trade on the value of your logo, trademarks, reputation and intellectual property, which could damage your business reputation and impact on the bottom line.
It’s a lot to deal with, particularly when you may not have in-house support teams. Fortunately, our Employment, Corporate and Commercial and Technology and Media people can be your ‘virtual’ legal team to support your at this stage. Our Commercial Property and Property Disputes team can help sort out any premises issues that may be preventing company expansion. We offer cost transparent solutions which include retainer, fixed price and insurance based solutions, so that you can get on and run your business.
Protecting my business
Protecting your business
Being an established business with a recognised brand reputation undoubtedly brings some business security, but mature businesses also face challenges in the current economic climate. Business structures, employment policies, and other procedures that may have been best practice only years ago, may no longer suit the needs of a 21st century business with online and offline trading. You are also likely to face the same pressures all businesses currently face; stringent funding demands, squeezed margins and limited team resources. As a business owner or manager you are likely to be under growing pressure to provide more savings through even more efficient business practices.
Mature businesses usually become more complex as they change over the years. Your employee obligations may be affected by new regulations and legislation. You may have grown or acquired businesses, which has left you with a property portfolio that no longer suits your business needs or a company organisation that now needs restructuring. Your commercial contracts have probably grown in number and complexity over the years. Greater efficiencies could probably be achieved and an independent review could ensure your exposure to risk is minimised, particularly where your valuable intellectual property is concerned. A serious business dispute could result in substantial damage to your company, so any potential dispute should be dealt with promptly and you’re your aims in mind.
Supporting mature businesses with legal services is at the heart of what we do. Our Corporate and Commercial, Employment, Commercial Property, Technology and Media, Property Disputes and Dispute Resolution teams work with business owners and senior managers to help them achieve their commercial goals and protect their businesses from risk.
Need to restructure
Changing the shape of your business
Businesses have rarely experienced tougher trading conditions and the economic outlook is still far from certain. Your bank is likely to be more risk averse than ever and may not be willing to support your business in a way that you would like it to. You may be tasked with keeping the business afloat with fewer resources, squeezed margins and reduced cash flows. When times are this tough, it can be difficult to see how you can best keep your business trading.
Restructuring your company may be the best path back to successful business recovery. The earlier you take action the more likely you are to find a solution that suits your business and satisfies your lender and ultimately your customers. We invest the time to learn how your business works and spot any risks that could jeopardise the company future. Working closely with you is one side of the equation; you also need to be confident that we can work alongside your accountants and bank to find the best restructuring solution. Ultimately it’s about getting your business trading successfully again.
If you decide that the struggle to keep the business afloat is simply too great you may reluctantly decide that insolvency is the only option left. Naturally your first concern will be how to minimise the impact on your company directors, as well as how to deal with the company’s creditors. Our advice will be open, direct and prompt and above all pragmatic. We may not be able to change the circumstances, but we can support you at every step of the insolvency process to reduce the risks faced by the directors of the company.
Moving on to new opportunities
You’ve worked hard to build your successful business. The time may come when you want to change your level of investment in the company, sell your business to pursue new business opportunities or simply to retire to a different lifestyle. Whatever your personal reasons, your choice of exit strategy will affect you, and potentially your fellow shareholders and everyone else in the business. Whether you are a sole trader, a member of a partnership or a shareholder in a limited company, you will want to be confident that you are making the best and most tax efficient choice.
Whether you are trading as a sole trader, partner, or limited company, you may simply wish to exit from your business by selling your business name, goodwill, equipment and stock. Your business buyer will need to comply with any TUPE regulations that apply to your employees, and they will also need to have the commercial lease transferred over to them. Exit strategies for shareholders in larger businesses typically involve the sale of their shares, rather than the business itself. It’s a very tax efficient route for you as the departing shareholder, but it may not be as straightforward for the buyer. If you’re the potential buyer, it’s vital to obtain expert due diligence to spot any issues that may cause problems for you once the shares are sold.
Sometimes key shareholders simply want to reduce their shareholding, rather than to go for a full share sale or the sale of the business itself. This allows key shareholders to retain an active role, but on a much reduced basis and it’s highly tax efficient.