It is common to start a new business while still being an employee so here are a few tips to make sure you don’t start on the wrong foot. You should check your employment contract, and any internal policies that your employer may have in place. Specifically, you need to understand if you are bound by a “Restraint of Trade” Clause. These clauses can restrict you from starting your own business in the same industry. You may be restricted from starting within a certain period of time, from operating within a certain radius of your employer or from both.
You should also look out for any conflict of interest clauses. These clauses may limit what type of external interests you may have. This can extend to holding the position of a director or shareholder in another company, or acting in competition to your employer.
Confidentiality clauses or obligations are likely to exist. Be careful to understand what type of information remains confidential to your employer. A good test is that if it is not public, it is probably confidential!
Finally, you will also need to understand whether your employer owns any intellectual property that you intend to use. Even if you created the design or system or had the idea, if you created it in the course of your employment it is likely that your employer will own it.
It is essential that you understand what you are able to do while still an employee because breaching your employment agreement could allow your employer to take legal action against you. Not a good way to start your new business!