As those who follow my posts know, I have very little sympathy for business owners who: - didn't take professional advice when starting a limited company; - didn't take professional advice when buying / selling a business; - didn't read the contract properly before signing (especially with leases and subscription services). It's amazing how such people can be allowed to breathe far less run businesses! I'm going to use this thread as a "Join The Other Geniuses" bookmark and simply link to this when the occasion arises (which seems to happen several times a day!) So here's a fun thread just for them To all you newbies (and some oldies) who've been sent to this thread, some advice: 1. There are times when you need to hire a professional. Yes, it costs money. But as you're probably discovering, you did something on the cheap and it's going to cost you more money now that you're knee deep in the brown stuff. 2. Accept that you've screwed up, apply some common sense at least now, recognise that you're not as smart as you thought you were, and go pay for expert assistance (instead of compounding your mistake by seeking free advice in these forums)! 3. Repent and don't make the same mistake in future. Starting a company: Yes, it's easy to open a new limited company, but there's tons to know before you start. Like: - the difference between a director and shareholder; - why a 50-50 split of shares is a bad idea; - why you should always draw up a shareholders' agreement right at the start; - what your responsibilities are as a director; - what records you need to keep and how you need to plan for tax; - lots more. Don't inform yourself of all these important matters and you're bound to run into problems at some point. It's only a matter of time! Buying or selling a business It's a lot, lot more complicated than you think. Even if you're paying £1 to buy a business, go pay a few grand for proper legal advice. And selling a business is not risk free, you still need to hire an expert. Whichever side of the transaction you're on, get a good corporate lawyer to draw up the contract! Relying on a free template you downloaded ...is at the dumb end of cheap. Signing a contract Businesses don't have the same protections as consumers. If you enter into a business contract the law assumes (probably incorrectly) that you're a smart, savvy, clued up, business minded person and that you fully understand the contract, the risks, your responsibilities. Whether it's a lease or any other contract you should not be signing it without reading every single word and having an adult explain it to you. Yes, it's easy to click the "Accept" button. Duh! That's why the Accept button is so big, it's for people like you! There is no cooling off period, there is no "I didn't read it properly" excuse. You signed, you're liable. Be grown up about it and accept you were naive/stupid/careless/ignorant (take your pick) to sign without understanding. Don't squeal like a kid that life is not fair. Don't Repeat I say this, but I have every confidence most of you will go and do exactly the same thing again because you're too arrogant to appreciate just how little you know and/or you're too tight to pay for proper advice. But I live in hope that at least a few of you will go away a little bit smarter. Good luck.