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New Year Resolutions for your Business

11th January 2021 by Edwina Bones

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What if I told you that we have prepared a list of New Year’s resolutions that do not involve dusting off your running shoes, calorie counting or eating nothing but salad for the whole of January? As important as it is to improve ourselves, it is also vital that we dedicate time to looking after our business, and with Brexit finally complete there has never been a better time for a general review of our business practices. Here are a few suggestions as to how you can take care of your business from a legal perspective:

  1. Regularly review your contracts: Take a look at the terms and conditions you have with your customers or clients and the agreements you have with your suppliers. Are they still in date? Do they need renewing or extending? Do they still reflect the way in which the parties are operating? Now may be the perfect time to renegotiate them, or (in the case of your suppliers) to even terminate them and find an alternative provider if any fixed term has come to an end. Set periodic diary reminders to review your key contracts. You should check carefully how you can amend, replace or end your contracts however before taking any steps to do so (your contracts may be very specific as to how this may be done).
  2. Ensure you have contracts in place: Whilst reviewing contracts you might find that some have expired, or that you did not even sign a contract at all with some of your business relations. It is best to have written contracts in place with any party that you are relying on to provide something, whether that is good, services or payment. Now may be a good time to prepare a written agreement for both the parties to agree on and sign. Going forward, make sure you have a signed contract in place whenever you enter into a new business relationship or make changes to your business relationships.
  3. Regularly review and update your intellectual property portfolio: Each business will have intellectual property, even if you do not realise it. Your trading name is a trade mark (and your product names, straplines and logos may also be). Any marketing material you produce is likely to have copyright protection. And if you design and/or manufacture products then you may also be able to claim design and/or patent protection. If you have not already spoken to an intellectual property lawyer then we would recommend that you do so. They can tell you if you would better protect your business (and potentially even increase its value) by registering your intellectual property and help ensure that you rather than your contractors are the owners of your intellectual property. Consider what steps you may need to take to protection your IP whenever you create a new brand, product or advertising campaign.
  4. Carry out data protection audits: Yes it can be a painful task but data protection law is not going away and it is important to ensure that you are complying with your obligations. Failure to comply can not only lead to fines but bad publicity, as well as a potential loss of customers if they think that you are not looking after their personal information. Ensure that you have the right policies in place (and that they are updated to reflect the way in which you are currently using personal data) and that you are taking sufficient steps to protect personal information. Ensure that staff are properly trained and get regularly refresher courses.

The above will not lead you to lose any weight or tone any muscles, but it will help protect your business. If you would like any help with carrying out any of the above then please contact Edwina Bones (e.bones@laceyssolicitors.co.uk or 01202 377824).

Edwina Bones

Associate — Corporate and Commercial

Direct dial: 01202 205043

Email

Edwina has returned to Laceys after working for Womble Bond Dickinson in Southampton and is an Associate within our Corporate and Commercial team. Edwina specialises in commercial contracts, intellectual property and charity law and has experience in drafting, negotiating and advising on a variety of agreements. Since qualifying in 2011, she has advised a range of businesses in various sectors. This includes a secondment working in-house for a well-known multi-national retailer.

Edwina has been listed in the Legal 500 as having an “incredible knowledge and a drive to do things right’. She enjoys getting to know a client’s business in order that she can provide tailored, practical advice.

Outside of work Edwina enjoys practising yoga, walking her energetic Labrador in the beautiful Dorset countryside and generally keeping active as well as spending quality time with her family and friends.

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