Your future is bright. So say all the entrepreneurial magazines that have helped you launch your small business. But there is a catch. Starting a business where you employ staff or interact with customers comes with legalities that you may or may not be familiar with. The quickest way to protect your business from possible future liabilities is to hire a small business lawyer. Here are 5 areas where you would need their help.
- Safeguarding intellectual property.
You thought up a beautiful slogan that seems to fit your business perfectly. But after a couple of months you find a business a few states over that is using the same slogan. Who was using it first? Who copied who? Who knew that coming up with a slogan could come with so many dangers? Small business lawyers will help you navigate these tricky waters. They can help research what slogans are free to use without infringing on others’ intellectual property. And can help you trademark your slogans so that they remain yours alone. This applies not just to slogans, but to all unique products and services that your business comes up with.
- Negotiating and writing up contracts and partnership agreements.
You’ve been friends forever before you decided to start a business together, so it might feel that a contract between you and your BFF is overkill. The truth is, you don’t know what could happen between now and two years down the line. The best protection is preparation. A lawyer can help take the emotional aspect out of drawing up a partnership agreement between you and someone you know well.
They can also help you draw up contracts between you and any contractors or employers that you decide to hire. Many Americans choose to start up business, or go into a franchise, with little or no knowledge of contractual arrangements. They feel they can “learn on the go”.
Getting into a franchise isn’t a joke. And neither is setting up a business. Having an attorney can provide you with boilerplate legal agreements at the very least so you are safeguarding against bad actors in the marketplace.
- Filing taxes.
Small business lawyers can help you collect your records and fill out the right tax forms for your business type. This will free you up to focus on what you do best, the visionary aspect of your business. We know you could eventually learn how to do it yourself, and you may feel like you are saving money doing so. But if you want to take your business from personal project to professional enterprise, hire professionals. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
- Customer complaints and other liabilities.
When you have a customer who is threatening to bring a lawsuit against you, it is almost too late to be looking for a lawyer. You want a lawyer from the start of your business. Someone who knows the ins and outs. Who understands where you are liable and can foresee potentially dangerous situations. So when something happens, they already know how to handle it. Your legal representation can tell you when it would be wise to settle, and when you need to fight against a lawsuit.
Hiring a small business lawyer might feel like an expense your business can’t afford. But in reality, it is an expense that if you do not make, can turn into an even greater expense in the long run. Start your business off right by protecting it from the get-go.