A constant challenge for SME owners is finding the time to ‘work on their business’ as opposed to ‘working in it’.
Daily tasks such as filling orders, managing staff, and meetings leave it almost impossible to find the time to keep an eye on all the different elements of your organisation.
Undertaking an annual business legal health check provides an opportunity to examine the strengths and weaknesses of your firm spotting areas of vulnerability to legal disputes and implementing strategies to capitalise on previously unforeseen opportunities.
So, how do you undertake a business legal health check?
Just as your personal health can be measured and improved in five key areas (physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual), so can the legal health of your business.
You see our legal health checks here
Read on below for further tips and hints to keep your business fighting fit.
The Coronavirus pandemic changed a lot of people’s mindsets regarding how they want to spend their days. Many employees, especially those with young families, no longer want to spend hours a day commuting. And with over one million job vacancies
currently available in the UK, highly skilled employees now have the pick of the labour market. If you are not willing to offer an outstanding employment package to attract and retain talent, your competitors probably will.
What should you consider?
- HR - does your HR team require further training? Are all the department’s policies and procedures up-to-date, for example, do your employment contracts incorporate the right to ask for flexible work?
- Engagement - what is team morale like? Following the end of Coronavirus restrictions, is it time to plan some fun social events to bring everyone together? Also, is there a clear career development focus and progression structure in place?
- Contractors - has all the compliance around IR35 been completed? Are there some contractors who would make valuable permanent members of your team? Are there projects in the pipeline that will require new contractors with specific skills to be brought onboard?
No business can survive without loyal, happy customers. All decisions you make should be done with your core consumers in mind. Things to consider include:
- How is your brand perceived? Are your reviews positive (Trustpilot, Feefo, Google) or are there too many negative complaints? Consider investing in an online tool such as Hootsuite to conduct an online reputation audit.
- Do you know your customers? What are their hopes and desires - especially given the traumatic events of the past 18 months? Investing in market research will help you understand customer pain points and how your products and services can solve their problems.
A health check
is a brilliant time to evaluate whether your existing processes and procedures will support your business growth and strategy. For example:
- If you are considering entering overseas markets you will need to ensure factors such as:
- Do your data protection processes support such a move?
- Do you have a GDPR representative in an EU Member State?
- Are your commercial contracts compliant with the UK GDPR and EU GDPR?
- Do your commercial contracts need updating to cover any new compliance requirements or changes in your business processes?
- Is your insurance cover fit for purpose? A major cause of business failure and ongoing, costly litigation is insurance not responding after a disaster such as fire or flood. If you have increased your warehouse space or began purchasing and storing stock that is outside of your original cover, contact your insurer asap.
For modern businesses, especially those in the STEM sector (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), Intellectual Property
(IP) is a highly valuable asset in terms of attracting new customers, investors, and potential future purchasers of your company. During the health check, consider:
- What stage are your Intellectual Property applications at? Are there any objections that have been missed?
- Are there any potential infringements to your trademarks?
- Are there processes in place to ensure new patents, design rights, and trademarks are applied for, and the application processes managed?
Business growth and investment require a stable cash flow and decent profits. When doing your health check make sure:
- Your debt recovery procedure is working.
- New revenue streams are being identified and exploited.
- Your sales pipeline is moving at an expected pace, with new prospects always being added to the funnel.
A company legal health check is the best way to establish how robust your SME is and what improvements need to be made to make your organisation even more successful. If you are ready to find out how healthy your business is, check out our free legal health checks
Get legal assistance from LawBite
Do you know how fit your business is?
LawBite can help you identify where you are legally robust or areas that need further attention. If you want to know how well placed you are to raise funds or maximise your cash flow, or maybe you want to see if you have exposure on IR35 / Off Payroll, Brexit, Intellectual Property or Covid-19 you can book a free 15-minute consultation
with one of our expert commercial lawyers.
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