Legal Documents to Organise when Starting your Startup


By Law Squared

A startup demands a significant amount of time, energy and attention – often, this is reflected in the long list of activities that a founder must tackle daily, in order to keep the startup operational.

Don’t let organising legal documents drop further down your to-do list and take note of these critical legal documents for early stage startups:

Business Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions set up the rights, obligations and liabilities between you and your customers. Most commonly, it forms the contents of a contract. It is an important legal document to organise, regardless of the industry your startup is operating in.

Terms and Conditions can contain a range of clauses that establish where you stand on issues such as:

-          Warranties

-          Refunds and returns

-          Defects and damage

-          Shipping and deliver

-          Payment procedure

Website Terms of Use

A website’s terms of use differ slightly from a business terms and conditions, as it sets out the ground rules for anybody who interacts with your startup through your website. This legal document is particularly necessary for anybody looking to start an online-based startup. Most, if not all startups will require a website terms of use in addition to their business terms and conditions.

While this legal document outlines the relationship between you and your customers – just like a business terms and conditions – it also determines what activities are acceptable (or unacceptable) on your website, as well as how your customers’ privacy is handled. It can also establish ownership and any intellectual property you may have over your website’s content.

Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy is an extension of your website Terms of Use. Again, if any part of your operation involves having your own website, a Privacy Policy is necessary to safeguard your startup from any issues relating to your website visitors’ data.

Employment/Contractor Agreement

This document is essential for any startup that employs staff or contracts out elements of the business operations to third parties. These agreements set out the rights and responsibilities between you and your employees/contractors – for instance, the type of work they will be performing, for how long, and what salary, entitlements or fee your startup will be paying the employee/contractor.

In setting up this agreement, you will also need to find out whether your worker is an employee or contractor. A well-drafted Employment/Contractor agreement should accurately reflect the true nature of the relationship between you and your workers.

Shareholder Agreement

A Shareholder Agreement is a document that governs the relationship between a company and its shareholders. It complements the Constitution of an incorporated startup. It is a necessary document for a startup with more than one owner or when there are investors involved. It should clearly set out the rights, responsibilities and procedures that are entailed with being a shareholder.

As such, the Shareholder Agreement is useful for situations such as the sale of a startup, where capital raising might be done by exchanging money for shares, or when a new director of a startup comes on board.

Key Takeaway

These legal documents provide a solid foundation on which to build your startup and protect you from minor issues that may arise between you and your stakeholders. Prioritise these documents, and rest assured that your startup is established on steady ground.

If you need help with your legal needs or would like a free consultation you can reach us here .

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