businesses in all stages of its life cycle - from start-up
and growing it through acquisitions and restructures; to
retiring from the business by selling or handing it over to
the next generation. Your business too will face different
funding, organisational and legal challenges as it goes
through different stages of its life cycle.
It happens quite often that lawyers are branded the
"spoilers" and the "deal breakers"; that they cause business
deals to be aborted by letting legal issues cloud business
goals and commercial imperatives.
Being your lawyer, our responsibility is to protect your
legal position. When business imperatives prevent us from
protecting your interests fully, we bring awareness of the
risks to the forefront so that your business decisions are
always INFORMED decisions; made with full knowledge of the
risks involved. Our approach: Better to go in with your Eyes
Wide Open, than to Plunge in Blindly, Hoping for the Best.
While we cannot insure you against business risks, we always
have your best interest at heart.
Here is a cautionary tale - believe us when we tell you that
it happens more often than we like, to the best and worst of
Our client was very excited about the prospect of new
business through a joint venture with another company. The
joint venture partner were friends whom they knew well.
Negotiations were conducted cordially over lunch and dinner.
Being a lawyer (as always) looking out for our client, we
proposed to draw up a simple "joint venture contract"
setting out the agreement reached by our client and their
friends on the scope of each parties' contributions,
responsibilities and share of profits.
When presented with the contract, their friends were livid;
they called our client saying that the contract is
inaccurate and that the lawyer was misinformed, misleading
and missing the point. In fact, they claimed to have been
insulted that our client even consulted a lawyer for what
was, essentially, a venture between good friends based on
mutual trust and friendship. They were, in short, not
prepared to sign any contract.
Our client wanted the new business enough to forgo "the
legalities" - which was how our efforts had been belittled
by their new joint venture partners.
Barely six months into the new business, our client was back
in our office. Not because they wanted to sue their joint
venture partners for not making good on their verbal
promises (this came later), but because they were now facing
a court action by third parties seeking compensation for
failure to deliver on services which were the responsibility
of their joint venture partners.
Getting ready to launch a new venture? Improve your odds for
success by making sure you have a lawyer on your side. Why?
Building up a business is just like constructing a building
– solid foundations must be laid. Without sound foundations
“cracks” will eventually start to show and it might be
costly to salvage a bad situation later. There is a
multitude of legal issues to think about when it comes to
starting your business. Everything from your business name
to its structure to its operation has legal impact.
What We Can Do For You
Business Planning & Strategies - As trusted legal advisors
to small business in myriad different industries, we not
only offer our experience and insights into how other
businesses achieve success; we are also well placed to
connect you with potential partners and investors.
Choose the Right Business Structure - Did you know how many
types of business structures are available to you? Sole
proprietor, partnership, limited liability partnership (LLP),
limited partnerships, private limited company and company
limited by guarantee - each structure offers different
benefits to suit varying business purposes. We advise on the
best corporate structure for your business and prepare and
file the necessary documents with Accounting And Corporate
Regulatory Authority (ACRA). We also advise on and draft
your governing documents such as the Shareholders and
Licenses & Permits - Ignorance of the law is no excuse if
you are operating a business without the appropriate permits
and licenses required by the different government
regulations. From to regulatory filings under the Companies
Act, to industry specific licenses and permits, to
employment passess; we can do the legwork (and the
paperwork) to ensure that you comply.
Securing Your Business Premises - Believe it or not, leases
are frequently negotiable. We will negotiate your business
leases and ensure that the agreement fairly allocates rights
and responsibilities between you and your landlord and
addresses all issues that may cause problems in the future.
Employment & Partnerships - No business succeeds without
help from loyal and dedicated employees, trusted suppliers
and a thriving network of business partners and associates.
We will negotiate, review, draft and advise on employment
contracts and employee benefits or compensation plans;
supplier and vendor contracts; and non-compete and
non-disclosure agreements for staff and collaboration
partners and business associates.
Funding - Funding is one of the first concerns of any new
business. Unless you have personal assets or can tap into
personal sources of income, you are likely to need a bank
loan or will be seeking investors. We can advise on the
different financing options available to fund the growth of
your business from debt financing and mortgage loans to
venture capital and angel investors.
Insurance & Protection from Lawsuits - For a start-up
business, lawsuits can be a death knell. Already strapped
for time and money, you simply can't afford the financial
and emotional stress that comes with legal wrangling. We
advise on public liability (or product liability) insurance;
fire insurance and other types of coverage suitable for your
business; we audit your standard contracts and internal
structures to minimise the risk of legal issues arising. In
short, we look out for you.
Debt Recovery to Manage Cash Flow - Cash flow problems can
put a small business under very quickly. As lawyers we will
advise you to take a hard look at your delinquent accounts
and your debt recovery policies. We will help you put in
place standard collection procedures, including template
letters and reminder triggers to ensure that you are
collecting as hard as you work for your clients and
customers. The survival of your business may depend on it.
Contracts for Business Operation - One of the cardinal rules
of business is - Put Everything In Writing. Disputes arise
when you leave room for doubt (and for unscrupulous clients
or contractors to exploit the loophole). We negotiate,
review, advise on and prepare all types of business
contracts; including sale and purchase agreements, service
contracts, distribution and agency agreements, vendor and
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