1. A Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)
Use an NDA while discussing a potential business relationship with another party or parties if you plan to disclose confidential information in the course of the discussions.
2. Company books/registers
You should ensure these are up to date and are an accurate record of company shareholders and officers. Your company books should be kept at the company's registered office.
3. Trade mark
This can be your company name and/or name of the company's products and/or services (if the name qualifies for trade mark protection). A trade mark can be unregistered or registered. Care should be taken to ensure your trade mark does not infringe the trade mark rights of a third party.
4. Privacy Notice
If you are a "controller" under the General Data Protection Regulation, then you must provide information to your customers as to how you process their personal data. This is usually in the form of a privacy notice.
5. Companies House Filings
As a director you have responsibility to prepare and deliver certain documents to Companies House. These include a confirmation statement, annual accounts and notification of any change to the company's PSC details.
6. Data processor
If you are a "processor" under the General Data Protection Regulation, or if you are a "controller" that engages processors to process personal data, all contracts between controllers and processors should be in writing and contain certain terms as required under the General Data Protection Regulation.
7. Contractors and intellectual property rights
If you engage contractors who are not employees, any intellectual property rights generated by a contractor providing services for you will be owned by the contractor. You need to ensure that those intellectual property rights are either transferred or licensed to you or your company.
8. Are the model articles fine for my company?
If you are a sole director and sole shareholder then the model articles that you incorporate the company with are probably sufficient. If you have employees that are shareholders you may wish to consider bespoke articles, and if you have multiple shareholders a shareholders agreement might be advisable.
9. Do I need written terms and conditions?
It is advisable that any business relationship is governed by terms and conditions setting out the obligations and rights of each party. If you engage with consumers then consumer legislation needs to be considered as part of your contractual obligations.
10. Does my company own its intellectual property rights?
You should consider if your company owns or validly licences all its intellectual property rights (especially if you have engaged a contractor to develop software or produce a logo for your company).
11. Should I have an incorporated company?
There are many "types" of businesses, including sole traders, partnerships and companies. If you run your business through a limited company, it is the company that is liable for any breach of contract (not you personally except in exceptional circumstances).
12. Do I need to protect my intellectual property rights?
If your intellectual property rights can be registered then this is worth considering. By creating a "monopoly" on the use of your intellectual property rights, so they become more of an asset to your business. Intellectual property rights are not just patents, consider your trade marks and designs which can also be registered.
Originally covered as a series in the Scottish Business Insider.