If you’re interested in starting your own business, you’re in for an exciting, yet challenging ride. Once you’ve done your research, you’ll want to write up your business plan, decide your company structure, and get all of your legal requirements in order. The most time consuming of these tasks is obtaining the required permits and licenses needed to run your brand.
More often than not, small companies and independent contractors don’t willfully ignore laws regarding business. They simply are not aware of what may be necessary.
The following are a few legal things you’ll want to know about before you start your own brand- you’ll avoid any complications later.
1- Registered Business Name
When you start your company the first step you need to take is registering your brand name. Register it under a “Fictitious Business Name” (FBN) or “Doing Business As” (DBA), letting your state and local government know the name that your business is operating under.
It’s important that you note that this registration doesn’t give your new brand trademark protection. However, it allows you to create and use the name for advertising purposes without having to incorporate. If you decide not to register, you opt to default to the legal owner’s name. Specific registration rules vary from location to location, so research diligently.
The only cases where you won’t register a DBA name is if you do operate under your own name, no variation of it, or if you create an official business structure, such as a corporation or an LLC.
If your brand plans involve providing goods or services nationally or online, you’ll want to get your company name trademarked. Simply having a DBA or incorporated business name does not protect your brand in other areas or countries where your business is not registered.
To get a trademark, apply with your country’s government agency. Before taking this step, conduct a thorough search to ensure that the name you want isn’t already in use.
2- Other Registrations and Taxes
Beyond registering your business’s name, you need to register for taxes in order to commence business operations. The first of these things you’ll need to deal with, at least in Australia, is the Australian Business Number (ABN). Your ABN is an eleven digit number that is unique to your business identifies your brand to the community and government.
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The number confirms your business identity as well as helps you avoid Pay as You Go taxes on payments and claim GST and energy grant credits. This number also helps you obtain an Australian domain name. Not every company needs an ABN, and the government can refuse your application for a variety of reasons. Do your due diligence to ensure that your future brand qualifies.
3- Fair Trading Laws
Before starting operations, you need to ensure that you’re aware of the fair trading laws of Australia, or similar regulations in other countries. These laws ensure that trading is fair for your company and your customers. The main law regarding fair trading is the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA).
The CCA covers the majority of aspects you’ll encounter in the marketplace. It deals with customers, competitors, suppliers, retailers, and wholesalers. It also deals with:
- Industry codes of practice
- Product safety
- Collective bargaining
- Price monitoring
- Unfair market practices
- The regulation of industries
If you feel uncomfortable with fair trading laws and how they may apply to your situation, consider contacting an expert in business law.
The Bottom Line
As a small brand owner, it’s your responsibility to be familiar with the laws and regulations that govern how your company operates. With this knowledge, you’ll make sure all your bases are covered before you even open your doors, and avoid penalties that could cost you thousands. When it comes to managing a small business, thorough research pays off!