The issues were identified in the NewLaw firm’s inaugural SME and Online Business Insights report which was an analysis of the firm’s data as well as a range of external surveys answered by 200 Australian small businesses.
According to the report, 39% of respondents identified business structuring as a key legal challenge in 2015.
This includes how to form a new business with the most effective legal structure and restructuring businesses as they grow.
LegalVision also identified intellectual property as a key legal issue for businesses with 40% of respondents indicating they intend to register a trademark in the next 12 months. However, 65% of respondents with a registered trade mark have never monitored, or very infrequently monitor, their trade marks for infringement.
Furthermore, the firm noted that it has received a 105% increase in trademark work in the past year.
Another legal challenge faced by SMEs and online businesses is loans and financing, with 20% of respondents choosing the area.
The NewLaw firm noticed an increase in using convertible notes to raise capital, especially for start-ups. The LegalVision Startup Team drafted 63% more convertible note offerings in the second quarter of the year compared to the third quarter of 2015.
LegalVision also saw an 82% increase in disputes, many of which are related to employment and franchising.
The survey also highlighted that mid and later-stage businesses (older than five years) commonly faced issues with suppliers, debt collection and litigation.
Meanwhile, the firm also highlighted that it saw a 120% increase in online business enquiries in 2015, often related to drafting legal documents to launch an online operation.
The APP – which all businesses and non-profit organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million as well as all health service providers and some small businesses need to comply with – indicates how businesses use, keep secure and disclose personal information.
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LegalVision has identified business structuring, loans and financing, intellectual property and business disputes as the key issues that concern small-to-medium enterprises (SME) and online businesses.