Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) make up 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK, provide 59.3% of all private sector employment, and generate 48.1% of all private sector turnover. SMEs employ 14.4 million people and have a combined turnover of £1.6 trillion.
The Legal Services Board conducted a ground-breaking study of the SME market with responses drawn from 10,000 businesses across a very wide range of subjects. The report paints a picture of the acute need of SME businesses for legal advice across the board. When asked about the effects of unaddressed legal issues, 23% of SME businesses reported significant loss of income, 12% reported an increased cost, 9% reported damage to their reputation, and 6% reported that employees had to be shed and/or the business closed down.
Overall, 46% of SMEs said that unaddressed legal issues had had a tangible adverse impact on their business, with the average financial cost per issue being £13,812. In perhaps its most far-reaching conclusion, the survey reported that fewer than 15% of SMEs thought solicitors offered cost-effective legal solutions. (Source: Law Gazette, June 2014).
We advise SMEs and Owner Managed Businesses (OMBs) on all aspects of running their business operations including:
- Commercial transactions including commercial contracts and terms of business
- Procurement including outsourcing services and procuring technology
- Supply chain and distribution agreements
- Sales and marketing including trading online, advertising, websites, distribution agreements and franchising
- Corporate transactions including M&A, JVs
- Planning for an exit
- Banking and finance including secured lending, asset based finance and
- Company secretarial
- Regulatory compliance including adherence to The Bribery Act, anti-money laundering and data protection regulations
- Employment law
- HR consultancy including providing ad hoc and flexible support in all aspects of managing people, advising on a range of HR matters from policies and procedures to managing recruitment or redundancy programmes, disciplinary matters, Investors in People accreditation and TUPE-related due diligence
- Property acquisition and disposal
- Landlord and tenant matters
- Succession planning
- Protecting the business for future generations through effective inheritance tax planning
Advising SMEs and business owners
It is essential to work with professional advisers that recognise the challenges that running a smaller business bring – whether in relation to resources, finance, market pressures – and have the experience to advise with solutions in mind. Wright Hassall has been advising SMEs and OMBs for many years and have the experience and understanding to 'hit the ground running' in relation to the legal challenges that business owners face.
Choosing the right size of law firm as your business grows
Many business owners find that they have used lawyers for many years for ad hoc business queries,often those lawyers were appointed because they have advised the family on personal legal matters such as the purchase of their family home. There comes a point in the lifecycle of any small or medium sized business that the challenges they face need to be addressed by a law firm with stronger and more in-depth corporate experience.
We regularly work with business owners who are looking for a larger law firm with the experience they need without feeling as if they are working with a massive legal machine which has no interest in their business or the challenges they face as individual business owners. Wright Hassall is proud to have grown our business significantly but to have retained the friendly and approachable style of working that so many of our clients value.
Data protection for SMEs
The majority of UK business is comprised of SMEs. With great pressure to grow, often business owners have little time to think about data security. If you do not ensure that your business is data compliant then your money, your information and your reputation are all at risk.
But is data protection really a big deal?
The number of security breaches has increased, the scale and cost has nearly doubled and if data security remains low on the to-do list of SMEs then the costs to businesses are going to continue to rise.
Did you know?
- £75k - £311k is the average cost to a small business of its worst security breach of the year.
- 74% of SMEs experienced some sort of data protection breach in 2015?
- 31% of SMEs experienced a staff-related data protection breach?
- The ICO issued a monetary penalty notice of £175,000 to a Welsh SME who engaged a 3rd party company to make in excess of 2.5m automated marketing calls in less than a 3 month period. Were you aware that it is the SME's responsibility to comply with data protection?