Getting ready to launch your first start-up or need help with your existing small business? If you read no further than the first few sentences of this blog, our most important advice to you is don’t go it alone. By working with an experienced small business attorney, you will not have to navigate the legal issues alone.
There are a variety of issues around starting a small business, and missing out on any crucial detail may not seem like a major concern today, but it could grow into a massive legal problem later down the road. With the help of a knowledgeable lawyer, you can avoid these problems before they happen – or if they do, mitigate any negative repercussions. Although every startup and small business and their goals are unique, for a strong and successful beginning, your attorney can walk you through a variety of steps.
How can a small business attorney help me get started?
When you’re ready to hang your shingle, as a small business owner and entrepreneur, you must take a lot into consideration. However, there’s no need to go out and get a legal degree to ensure you’re doing everything properly. A business law attorney can advise and assist with important legal matters like:
- The type of business you should form. Not all companies are equal. Your lawyer can work with you to determine your needs and the needs of your business to find what type of entity formation is best – including sole proprietorships, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations.
- Creating, modifying, and enforcing contracts. When business contracts are drafted and reviewed properly, it drastically reduces the risk of conflict and litigation – conflict and litigation that can disrupt your business and cost it money. Or if you must enforce it, you can insert provisions that favor you. Ensure your contracts are solid and protect you, and that customers and business associates do not take advantage of you.
- Non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) prevent valuable and proprietary company information from being provided to third parties. NDAs are contracts between employees and employers, contractors and employers, or companies and companies, depending on the business situation. Your lawyer can help you write NDAs appropriate to your company.
- Business litigation and disputes. The job and goal of good legal representation is to avoid conflicts and disputes. However, in the event one occurs, your attorney should be ready to step in immediately to advocate for and represent your interests so you can continue running your day-to-day business operations.
- Franchising. If you own a franchise or are ready to buy one, it is important to understand all the legalities involved, particularly the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). The FDDs are often more than one hundred pages long and were written to protect the franchisor, not the franchisee; and the contract a franchisee signs often radically favors the franchisee. Once signed, this lengthy and legally binding document is binding and enforceable, no matter how one-sided. Don’t sign a franchisee contract blindly. It is crucial to have your attorney review your FDD and franchise contract.
All of these issues and more can help your small business start off on the right foot.
What else can a lawyer do for my small business?
As your business grows and evolves, so will your legal needs, and your attorney should be there to both anticipate those needs and meet them properly. Working with a lawyer helps a business:
- Reduce risk and liability
- Ensure compliance with local, state, and federal law
- Enforce contracts with both clients and employees
- Dissolve the company properly
- Assist with the sale or purchase of a company
- Transition ownership
Of course, these are only a few examples. Your business may need less attention, or much more.
What are the risks of not having a lawyer?
Failing to get an attorney on your side right from the start – or as soon as you think you might need one – can result in a waste of precious time and money. Often, what feels like a small dispute can balloon into a legal nightmare that could have been avoided with a simple consultation with your attorney. Some of the dangers you may face include:
- Contract disputes and violations
- Business litigation
- Overtime and wage disputes
- Intellectual property theft
- Conflicts with partners and co-owners
- Employee disputes
- Tax issues
- Failure to correctly license a business
Any of these can cause not only financial problems, but damage to your livelihood, branding, and reputation.
It may be true that starting a business is risky, but starting one without an attorney is riskier. When you are ready to start or expand your small business, consult with the Law Office of Perry A. Craft PLLC. Mr. Craft and his team of legal professionals want to see your business succeed, and will put their skills to work to help you meet your goals. Whether you need help getting your business off the ground or you need an attorney right now, call 615-953-3808 or fill out our contact form today. We represent clients and businesses throughout Nashville.
Perry A. Craft has dedicated his life to helping people in need. He has tried, settled, or resolved numerous civil and criminal cases in State and Federal courts, and has represented teachers and administrators before school boards, administrative judges, and the state Board of Education. Learn more about Attorney Craft.