When you’re an entrepreneur, your business is your baby. Clearly nobody knows more about your offspring than you do, so why would you want some lawyer sticking their nose in and messing around with your clearly successful path so far? Thinking that you’re “too small” to need a lawyer or can get by with just a few articles pulled from Google is a common mistake that many new entrepreneurs make. Sadly, it can also be a very costly one down the road. Not only can a small business attorney ensure you’ve got your paperwork and practices absolutely perfect, they can help to smooth over any of the potential legal headaches that inevitably come with a new business start-up.
1) Without a plan, you’re flying by the legal seat of your pants.
When you start your new business, you probably have a plan for how you’ll do your launch, your marketing, your product or service line and all the other little things that makes you an expert in your field. However, unless you have a law degree on top of that, the likelihood of missing an important piece of documentation that you require for your business is high. Yes, there are internet help sites and checklists that you can view for guidance, but can you really be sure they’re up-to-date with the latest standards and practices? An entrepreneurial and small-business specialist attorney can create a legal plan of action aligned with your business goals. This helps you know exactly what to expect and when, meaning fewer headaches down the line.
2) You think you’re set up, but are you really?
Starting a new business means there’s a mountain of paperwork and accounts to get in order. However, are you aware of all the legal paperwork that you need to file with your particular state in order to conduct business? How about applying for your tax ID’s, copyrights and patents? These are things that small-business owners often forget in their excitement to get their business off the ground and up-and-running. Your dedicated small business attorney can go through with you everything that needs to be filed, when and ensure that your paperwork is perfect every time.
3) A small business lawyer can guide you through those piles of paperwork.
Whether you’re looking into a bricks and mortar location or you’re solely internet based, there will be numerous contracts, paperwork and arrangements to be made on everything from your location to setting up stocks and your board. Another important factor for your business is ensuring that many smaller businesses fail to recognize is to set up your company’s by-laws, resolutions, and the possibility of any stock issuance. Just because you’re small now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be planning for the future, and having these items in place from the get go protects both you and your business.
4) Because you may need help in managing the wild and untamed World Wide Web.
One of the most important elements to any new business marketing plan is fully-embracing the internet, including e-commerce and social media. While the web can feel like the wild frontier where anybody can say anything they want about your business, failing to having some legal counsel on some of the issues that will come up during your online launch can seriously damage your business. Things such as people “cyber-squatting” on trademarked names, negatively damaging reviews that are clearly written by your competition, e-commerce issues and set-up and even just ensuring your content is written in a way that won’t prove misleading or defamatory are all things a great small business attorney or internet specialist attorney can assist you with.
5) A small business lawyer can help you to grow.
As your business grows, you’re going to need some help. However, employment law is not something you want to try to do on your own, as the paperwork can be confusing and it can result in legal headaches down the road. Your small business lawyer can assist you with the write-up of employee contracts, handbooks, offer letters and even help with getting the correct tax ID information. They can also help you plan a basic information check-list so you’re able to remember to get proof of legal work status and a background check.
Having the right attorney on your side can be an extremely valuable asset when you’re an entrepreneur and starting up a new business. By doing so, you can avoid expensive legal pitfalls down the road. Now that’s a smart investment.
Cliff S. Schneider is a Managing Partner at Conan Schneider & O’Neill LLP Attorneys At Law. He specializes in entrepreneurial law, helping to guide small to midsize businesses from their start-up all the way to a sale or exit strategy. Mr. Schneider is also a specialist in the always-changing internet, e-commerce and social media legal fields.