Business Structure  Advice

When you’re starting a new business – or considering restructuring a current business – choosing the right business structure is vital. Having the right legal business structure could protect you from legal or tax issues that could come up in the future. And not having the right legal business structure could put your business at risk.

At Stevensen Business Lawyers, we give legal business structuring advice to Sydney-based SMEs in all industry sectors. We can help you choose the best business structure for your needs based on tax and legal considerations.

How We Help

As expert business lawyers, we’re here to advise and assist you on all your legal business structuring needs.

We aim to work with you to align your business structuring documents with your personal goals and strategic business plans. This includes financing, profit distribution, decision-making by business partners, meetings, dispute resolution, exit plans and succession plans.

Our business support services include preparing or updating loan agreements, finance securities documents, business terms and conditions, employment contracts, employee share schemes, confidentiality agreements, IP agreements, supply agreements and services agreements.

In general, we come into the picture in three scenarios. When you:

  1. Are structuring a new business.
  2. Need regular check-ups and updates of a current business structure.
  3. Are onboarding new investors into your company.

Structuring a New Business

If you’re structuring a new business, we can help you:

  • Set up a company, trust structure or partnership agreement aligned with your accountant’s advice on tax-effective business structures.
  • Negotiate and finalise your deal with business partners or shareholders.
  • Prepare or update your joint venture agreement, partnership agreement, trust deed, company constitution, shareholders agreement or share sale agreement.
    If you need tax advice factored into the business structuring, we can refer you to an accountant from our network to give you their expert outlook.

Regular Checking and Updating of Your Current Business Structure

Things change, and your legal business structure may need to change as well. Your business may have grown. Or maybe you’re thinking of restructuring it to accommodate a new investor. In either case, you should obtain updated business structuring advice relevant to your changed circumstances.

We have years of experience as both contract lawyers and dispute resolution lawyers. So we know it costs less to check your structuring and associated documents regularly and customise them to your current needs than the legal fees involved in resolving a misunderstanding or dispute between business partners or shareholders of a company.

Onboarding New Investors Into Your Company

Whether you’re a start-up business seeking funding from investors or a current business thinking of ways to facilitate capital injection into your growing business, you need to get expert advice. We can help you get the right legal business structure for the best outcomes. That means you’ll be able to attract potential buyers of shares in your company or help get a loan from a start-up investor.

We can prepare or review the documents needed to get private funding for your start-up from investors. We can negotiate on your behalf throughout the transaction. And we can review contract documents proposed by seed or early-stage investors or other participants.

In every case, our experts are on hand to give you practical legal advice and recommendations to protect your legal position.

Who We Help

Over the years, we’ve helped new and existing businesses, owner-operators, individuals going into partnership or buying into companies and companies going into joint ventures. And as legal business structuring experts, we’re here to help you too!

For help with your legal business structuring and practical advice, contact Stevensen Business Lawyers today.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a shareholders agreement?

A shareholders agreement is a contract negotiated between the owners of a company, setting out their mutual rights and obligations as shareholders and directors. It also includes capital contributions, business plans and mechanisms for decision-making, meetings, dispute resolution, profit distribution, exit provisions and liabilities.

Together with a company constitution, the shareholders agreement comprises the basic set of rules for internal management of a company that comes with the Replaceable Rules under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

You should not sign a share sale agreement before receiving legal advice. Our expert business lawyers can advise on the suitability of the document for you as a purchaser and on the workings of any shareholders agreement proposed by the existing owners of the company to regulate your investment in the company.

Yes we can. When you appoint us as your business lawyers, we will review your documents and discuss them with you, including how they can be updated to protect your position in the business better. However, ‘one size fits all’ documents don’t usually reflect your business arrangements as well as a bespoke written contract will. You may decide that this is the better option in the future.

We often say, ‘you don’t need a contract – until you NEED a contract.’

The absence or deficiency of contracts is the single biggest legal problem faced by small businesses today. We regularly see the fall-out from having business arrangements that are undocumented or poorly documented.

Not documenting your partnership arrangement, or other legal business structure, is particularly risky. Everyone has a different recollection later of what was meant at the time. This can increase the cost of resolving a business dispute as you try and piece together the collage of conversations and emails that you say maps your arrangement, rather than a formal document.

Having your contract drafted by an experienced business lawyer can limit the risk of future costly litigation arising. If you do have a business dispute, it’s best to get our advice early on to set your agenda. Otherwise you may find that someone else will set your agenda for you. And you might find yourself risking acceleration to costly litigation if things don’t go exactly according to plan. In the end, having a bespoke contract will generally keep down your overall operational costs.