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Peter Charles Limited

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Why you need a confidentiality agreement when selling your business

Why you need a confidentiality agreement when selling your business

When you are selling a company or a business, confidentiality can be a bit of a dilemma because you can’t sell it without telling someone! Unless you’re selling in response to an unsolicited offer, you will probably need to talk to a business sales agent or other people in your sector about the possibility of selling.

Some people are rightly fearful about telling anyone, because it risks creating a rumour mill suggesting that the business is in difficulties. If the communication is not managed well, the news can alarm staff, suppliers, customers, creditors and bankers. It might also alert competitors to a perceived weakness in your business position.

Such rumours could have a negative impact on your business and its price. Buyers will be less keen to part with their money for a business that is rumoured to be in trouble. You should therefore judge carefully what you say, and to whom, and always ask for a confidentiality agreement to be signed.

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Why due diligence is worth the effort (even when buying a business for a small price)

Why due diligence is worth the effort (even when buying a business for a small price)

If my clients are buying a company for a significant price – up to £millions in some cases – they really don’t need me to tell them that they need to do thorough due diligence because they’ve already bought into the idea.

On the other hand, when clients are about to buy a business for a modest price (or possibly, even being paid to take it on), they often ask whether due diligence is worth the bother and cost.

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Brexit and contracts: where are we?

Brexit and contracts: where are we?

Answer: it’s quite hard to tell!

After lots of fuss, the UK left the EU at 11 pm on 31 January 2020. Months of further fussing are to follow before we know if it will be with or without a trade deal. We are currently in a transition period that is due to end on 31 December 2020 – unless, by the end of June 2020, there is an agreement between the EU and the UK to extend it by one or two years.

That means we have been experiencing a really long period of uncertainty since 2016, and now face a further long period of uncertainty.

That said, we do have a modest level of certainty about what happens during the transition period, even if we don’t know how long it would be.

This article explores more.

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Do you sell software as a service?

Do you sell software as a service?

An increasing percentage of startup businesses are providing their service through a mobile app or software platform.

However, many people are vague about how to protect their intellectual property in the systems and software they build.

For example, you might be wondering if you can patent your software. In the UK and Europe, the current answer is usually no.

The most applicable protection is copyright, because (as you might be surprised to discover) software is treated as a literary work!

The protection for literary works was obviously designed for books, and doesn’t apply in exactly the same way for software and computer programs. The problem is that software isn’t always as simple as a printed publication on paper.

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Company dividends: (Almost) everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Company dividends: (Almost) everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask

I often speak to long-term shareholders and business owners/managers who don’t really understand what dividends really are or know their liabilities around them.

People often loosely think of dividends as a way for owners and shareholders to get money out of the business, perhaps because this can be particularly tax-efficient for start-ups.

However, company dividends can also be quite a technical area, with terrible consequences if you do things wrong, such as when shareholders get too greedy or the Board is too generous.

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Shareholder of a small company?

Shareholder of a small company?

There are specific issues to consider if your small company is owned by you and your family members, or even by a group of people who aren’t related. They also apply when there are a small number of people who invested significantly at an early stage.

How do you define a small company? For the purposes of this article, there is no magic number, but let’s say it’s less than six shareholders (so it could be more or less staff).

In this situation, you have to talk about things that people don’t often like discussing. Here are some of them.

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Battle of the forms

Battle of the forms

“Battle of the forms” is a long-established description of what happens when a customer and supplier start a new business relationship and attempt to form the contract.

Often, each party wants the contract to work on their own standard terms, and this can result in all sorts of silliness. Admittedly, some of this silliness is caused by the legal authorities defining the way you can identify whether a contract is or not is formed, and on what terms. This article explains more.

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Tips for leaving your supplier contract well

Tips for leaving your supplier contract well

Are you a supplier and you want to get out of a contract with a customer?

Let’s assume there is no underlying dispute, and no controversial reason why you want to leave. Maybe you are moving into a different line of business or need to be free to deal with a different set of clients. It’s more complicated if you want to get out of the contract because of the customer’s bad behaviour (see links below).

This article explains how to prepare and manage your exit as best as possible, to reduce risks and the inconvenience that might arise if you do things clumsily or in haste.

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Planning your legal activities for 2020

Planning your legal activities for 2020

The start of a new year is a good time to stop and plan your legals for the year ahead. Also, now that we are edging towards Brexit, it’s a good time to identify any issues in your contracts that might be affected. Here are some practical suggestions for you to consider.

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6 ways to protect the sale value of your business

6 ways to protect the sale value of your business

We recently wrote about everyday practices that will hurt the sale of your business. This time, we build on that by looking at issues to consider when preparing to sell.

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Our clients say...

Marie developed contracts for us which are professional and specific to our business and allow us to easily manage our relationships with very different clients and suppliers.

Kerry Quinn
Quinn Wilson Associates Limited

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