Carole Ferguson
Carole Ferguson

Legal responsibilities for your scaleup – The Daily Scaleup with Kim McAllister

Legal responsibilities. Do they make you yawn, laugh or soil yourself?

Like death and taxes, there’s no avoiding the law, and as your company scales, you’re going to have to respect your added responsibilities. Crossing the VAT threshold, going public, employing more staff – all these milestones come with extra paperwork.

I’ve turned first to my friend and client (full disclosure) Carole Ferguson, not just because her number’s on speed dial but because she’s dual qualified and extremely knowledgeable.

“If you’re going to be running a registered company, get the lowdown on corporation tax and rates that apply at the various business levels,” she told me.

“Make sure if you take on staff, that you are aware of the legal implications and financial implications.”

Intellectual property law is going to be relevant both for protecting your own ideas and for making sure you’re not infringing on others. But it’s the employment law that I’d be wanting to brush up on.

“Yes, you’re going to need to learn how to navigate the laws including parental leave and disciplinary issues,” she agreed. And what about setting levels of pay?

“Figuring out how much you should pay your staff not only ensures a well-renumerated workforce but means you won’t fall foul of National Minimum Wage regulations,” she said.

Carole loves a bit of health and safety law so I’m not surprised she reminded me that workplaces have to be compliant. To me that sounds like a lot of work, but it’s mostly common sense, unless you’re working in manufacturing or high hazard environments. In those industries I would definitely be calling in an expert.

Most interestingly for me was the point she made about digital regulations.

“Doing business online means dealing with a host of laws and regulations applying to the digital sphere,” she said. “Make sure you know the law so you’re not penalised for sending unsolicited marketing emails, and check your software is properly licensed too.”

It’s cool, I just paid $12 to use Flume – I’m feeling smug.

I’m also being facetious. The legal side of scaling a company can be complex, so I plan to return to this topic regularly. At least that way you all get some free legal advice, right?

Kim McAllister is a Journalist & Communications Consultant and director of Impact Online