Online Business: Your Start-Up Guide

Starting an online business is an exciting step with global possibilities, so it’s important to make sure that you have all your legal bases covered. In this blog, we will provide you with a legal checklist, and explore the key steps and considerations for safeguarding your online business. 


Website Terms of Use 

Think of your website terms of use as your digital rulebook. These guidelines spell out the dos and don’ts and are applicable to all website visitors, regardless of their intention to make a purchase. They can include information like:  

  • Intellectual property protection; 
  • Things that are prohibited when using the website; 
  • Disclaimers; and 
  • Limitations on your liability. 


Crafting a Solid Privacy Policy 

A privacy policy is a legal statement posted on a website outlining how your online business collects, handles, stores, discloses, and utilizes personal data. However, it is more than just a legal document; it’s your way of showing visitors that you value their trust. It is important to ensure that your privacy policy adheres to Australian Privacy Law, including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). 


Protecting your Online Business’ Intellectual Property 

Your brand is important, and protecting it is non-negotiable. From your business name to trademarks and copyrights, your intellectual property holds immense value. Securing these rights and ensuring they are respected can be a game-changer for your business.  

Remember, it falls on your shoulders to actively protect your online business’s intellectual property. Enlisting the support of a legal expert can help you monitor and enforce your rights effectively. Whether it’s reaching out directly to infringers or taking legal action, having a solid strategy in place can make all the difference. 


Sale Terms and Conditions vs. Client Agreement 

If your online business engages in product sales, having clear terms and conditions is crucial. Unlike website terms of use, sales terms and conditions apply solely to purchasing customers. They regulate the sales process and enable consumers to understand your business’s operations before making a purchase.

Generally, these T&C’s should include information on: 

  • Products and Orders 
  • Payment
  • Delivery 
  • Cancellation 
  • Returns, Refunds and Exchanges 

On the other hand, for businesses primarily engaged in providing services, drafting a tailored client agreement is essential. A well-crafted client agreement should include:

  • The description of services your online business provides 
  • Payment and associated terms 
  • Expectations of your client 
  • Transferring intellectual property 
  • Termination of agreement 
  • Limitation on liability 
  • Dispute resolution 


Understanding International Laws 

Given the potential worldwide accessibility of your online business, understanding foreign laws that might apply is crucial. Well-crafted terms and conditions can help prevent potential conflicts that may emerge on an international scale. 


An Important Extra! 

Register the URL you choose for your website as soon as possible. URLs get taken quickly, and running an online business without a URL is impossible. When selecting your URL, make sure it doesn’t step on anyone else’s toes in terms of trademarks or copyrights. 


Key takeaways 

  • Creating a privacy policy is important when starting an online business. 
  • Drafting well-written Website Terms of Use, Sale T&Cs and Client Agreements are also important.  
  • It is important to protect your IP and ensure you don’t infringe on others. 
  • Snap up a URL early! 


Gladwin Legal are experts in Consumer Law and have extensive experience in advising businesses. If you require assistance in understanding your legal obligations please contact us at or 1300 033 934.