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Starting Up

BPE has built a reputation for working with start up businesses and supporting them throughout their growth. From deciding whether to be a limited company or a sole trader to recruiting the right staff for your business and making sure your business is fully protected, we can help.

Trading, agreements and systems

Consumer rights and regulations

A reputation that has taken years to build can be knocked down in minutes by unhappy customers, particularly with the viral opportunities open to anyone with access to the internet. Keeping customers happy and complying with consumer rights, consumer protection and regulations provided by Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading is vital.

We advise businesses on their legal consumer obligations. 

We can support you on:

  • how to protect your business from damaging consumer claims and possible enforcement action by regulatory bodies 
  • your obligations for traditional and e-commerce trading 
  • distance selling regulations 
  • consumer protection act 
  • data protection regulations 
  • sale of goods legislation 
  • unfair terms in consumer contracts 
  • keeping customers happy

Software licensing & online trading

We offer a range of services to support your IT/e-commerce business needs, from Software Licensing to Online trading terms and conditions. Our expertise includes: 

  • Drafting and negotiating cloud computing agreements for the provision of business critical hosted software 
  • Drafting app development agreements 
  • Help with Software Licensing if you are developing software or using another company's products 
  • Advice on IT Support and Maintenance agreements. Making sure your business has strong and enforceable remedies if IT goes wrong 
  • Copyright advice, including how best to use tactics such as seeding, to protect the source and object code for a piece of software 
  • Escrow Services 
  • Advice on websites including privacy policies and trading terms 
  • Online trading terms and conditions, covering, amongst other things, the new EU Cookies directive

Supplier and Customer Contracts

We create tailored terms, agreements and contracts to fit your business and its needs.  

  • Trading Terms and Conditions - whether you're buying or selling, we work with you to create robust and practical trading terms that protect your business both on and offline. 
  • Agency - we work closely with principals and agents to draft contracts and offering advice. We advise on all forms of agency jurisdictions across the globe and often advise on the effect of the Commercial Agents Regulations and your liability to pay compensation to an agent. 
  • Manufacturing, Supply and Distribution Contracts - from quality control to benchmarking, from service levels to warranties, we can help you draft contracts to fit your business model. 
  • Outsourcing - contracting with third parties to provide business services is becoming more and more common as you benefit from the third party's economies of scale. We can advise on the risks and benefits of outsourcing and draft and negotiate an agreement that will ensure you get what you are paying for. 
  • Franchising - whether you are the franchisor or the franchisee, we can help your business go from strength to strength. The franchise agreement is vital, and we have helped many well-known brands set up successful franchise models. 
  • International Contracts - we work with businesses in every continent, helping them comply with their own national laws and the laws applying in the territories where their suppliers and customers are based. Understanding the local culture is as important as knowing the local law, and we can help you make the most of any trading opportunity.

Complying with industry regulations

Regulation is part of everyday life, affecting everything from how you package goods to how you advertise your services. The most widely known requirements relate to Health and Safety and food preparation, but regulations also cover freedom of information, food labelling, selling of financial products, pensions and consumer rights.

Failure to comply can have serious consequences, such as fines, bad publicity or even prison sentences. We can help make sure you're fully aware of the regulatory obligations, so your business stays compliant.

Ownership agreements

If you're in a business partnership but operating without a partnership agreement, you may be putting your business at risk. We can help you draw up an agreement, no matter what line of business you work in: 

  • Partnerships - governed by an act of Parliament that is over 120 years old, these types of partnership are most exposed to risk and require a comprehensive partnership agreement to protect the partners. 
  • Limited Liability Partnerships - we can advise on the structure that best suits your business, and help you put an agreement in place that allows the partners to effectively run the business. 
  • Conversion to LLP Status - this can bring tax benefits as well as limited liability for partners. We can work closely with our property and employment teams, making sure your freehold and leasehold assets are properly dealt with and that your employees' contracts are transferred to the new LLP. 
  • Limited Partnerships - these are relatively uncommon but are used by investors who don't want to play an active part in the management of their investment. Thanks to our expertise in the financial investment sector, we know how to draft and manage an agreement for you. 
  • Partnership Disputes - our team will help to resolve any dispute quickly, cost-effectively and amicably. 

Shareholder Agreements
Sorting out your shareholder agreements in the early stages of your business is time well spent. Without agreed documents in place you might have ex-employees walking away with shares, shareholders with a small shareholding blocking decisions, or in the worst case scenario, a company that cannot be sold however good your actual business.

We can advise you on the broader commercial issues such as taxation and share valuation as well as company law issues.

We can help you with: 

  • Review, drafting and negotiation of shareholder agreements and documentation 
  • Minority shareholder protection and share plans 
  • Post termination restrictions and covenants in shareholder agreements 
  • Share option schemes and similar incentive arrangements 
  • Shareholder disputes 
  • Recovery of shares from existing shareholders 

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