One of the most important aspects of starting a business has to do with the legal issues surrounding the process of incorporation for startups. When starting up, it’s tough to know everything about the legal process that applies directly to your business, but the following are some important issues to be aware of and mistakes to avoid when starting up, according to experts Polly Brewster, contributor on Entrepreneur.com and Chas Rampenthal, lawyer, entrepreneur and contributor to Inc.com.
In the process of starting a business, knowing about ‘the law’ can be overwhelming (in addition to thinking about business financing, marketing, product development, etc.) However, the earlier you begin thinking about legal issues related to your business, the easier the entire startup process will be in the long run. Legal issues for entrepreneurs and new ventures include: business entity choices, business licenses, service contracts, employee issues, and more. Addressing those types of issues early on will help your business to startup quicker (and more efficiently).
Be sure to get things in writing
Although you may make a deal verbally, with a potential vendor or a client, it is very important to back that up with written documentation. Without written documentation, deals may end up falling through. If there are co-founders in your company, you need to properly and accurately define ownership and terms—this will create less confusion should things change in the future.
Common mistakes to avoid
There are some pitfalls to avoid when thinking about the legal process in your new venture. There are many things to pay attention to and things to avoid. For example, hiring a lawyer too soon is one of the common mistakes that new entrepreneurs make. In many cities, there are ways to consult with a lawyer before actually forking over cash as a retainer. Many colleges and/or universities have pro bono law clinics, which can help small businesses or answer basic legal questions.
In addition to hiring counsel too quickly, it is important to be careful when choosing who will represent you. Many people have connections to a lawyer—perhaps a family member or a close friend. But do they practice law as it relates to business? Are they an expert in your area or industry? If you’re not quite sure whether you’re ready to hire a lawyer or who to hire, attend a networking session or ask a fellow entrepreneur who has been in a similar situation.
If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, please feel free to share what legal advice was most helpful to you in the process of starting up and/or growing your venture.
To find out more about important legal issues (and mistakes to avoid), please visit the following:
Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!