Setting up a technology company in the UK is never easy and can be very challenging figuring out what to do first, without the right guidance and support behind you. Our Commercial Lawyers have worked with and helped thousands of tech startups throughout the years and have put together a comprehensive checklist, so you don’t miss anything!
1. Company formation/ structure
Make sure to choose the appropriate legal structure such as a private limited company (Ltd). This protects your persons assets and reduces your personal exposure as a founder. Register your company with company’s house and obtain a unique company registration number. Prepare and file the necessary documents.
2. Intellectual property
Intellectual property is your creations such as your code, inventions, ideas, designs, symbols, names, and images. Ownership only passes in writing from the developer or you as a founder to the business, so have this in place. Registering your marks or filing your patents protects you from a competitor using your name, content, clients, and ideas. Conduct a thorough IP search to ensure your chosen brand name or product doesn’t infringe upon existing trademarks. Consider seeking professional advice on IP protection strategies such as a registered trademark, NDA, or a patent.
Make sure you are all on the same page from the start and use this agreement to bring on new investors. It deals with exit plans, control of the business, preventing bad leavers setting up in competition and your ability to sell amongst other things.
4. Social media, Marketing & Networking
How you market your business can really determine the speed of growth or your business. Knowing your consumers wants and needs and being able to communicate that is very important. As technology is one of the fast-growing sectors, people are often trying to keep up with it. Provide your audience with relevant and useful content and stay updated with industry trends. Getting organic engagement can be quite hard, there is no harm with doing some displayed advertisement or PPC to try and boost awareness. It can also be worth adding your business to any major directories. Networking is one of most important things for any business. Getting referrals and great reviews can also lead to a lot of business.
Contract & Agreements
It is important to make sure you prepare comprehensive and clear contracts that are consistent with your processes and policies including: employment or subcontractor contracts, NDAs, Terms of Service, and privacy policies. It is important to consult with a lawyer to ensure these agreements protect your interests and comply with laws, especially when you are a specialist tech company you need robust, innovative, and future proof terms and if you are processing data GDPR protection.
Employment & HR
Understand employment laws including contracts, working hours, pension, minimum wage requirements and statutory benefits. Ensure you comply with equality and anti-discrimination laws during the hiring process and throughout employment. Establish clear policies for employee conduct, disciplinary procedures, and grieving handling. Setting the scene and training staff develops committed teams, reduces attrition & associated recruitment costs & ultimately claims.
Data Protection and Privacy
Familiarise yourself with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data protection Act 2018. Implements appropriate data protection policies and procedures, including obtaining user consent for data processing, ensure data security and providing individuals with access to their own data. We also recommend restricting access to only those who need the data to minimise risk and monitor this throughout. If processing data even staff, you need to register with the ICO.
Register for taxes with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), including Corporation Tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), and Pay as You Earn (PAYE). Keep accurate financial records and file tax returns within the specified deadlines. Consider seeking professional advice from an accountant or tax advisor to optimise your tax position.
Familiarise yourself with consumer protection laws, including regulations related to product warranties, refunds, and consumer rights. Clearly display terms and conditions, refund policies, and cancellation rights on your website or mobile app.
Cybersecurity and Data Breach Response
Implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect your company’s and customers’ data. Develop an incident response plan to handle potential data breaches, including notifying affected individuals and relevant authorities.
Legal Documentation Review
Regularly review and update your legal documents and agreements to ensure they remain up-to-date and compliant with the law.
Public liability and employee liability are usually the minimum required but maybe speak to a broker about professional indemnity insurance, property contents, keyman and other protective policies.
At A City Law Firm, we know how hard taking that first step and growing your business can be. This is why we offer bespoke Start-Up and Scale Up Packages for tech companies looking for an affordable, yet personal and professional service. Templates are a false economy as they are often not suitable for your growing business, advice and support cannot be underestimated and assistance negotiating is always helpful using experienced professionals. Experts in tax, law and other areas ultimately saves you money because a careful structure and consideration of future events reduces risks, opens opportunity, and protects you as founders.