A Business Lawyer Can Help Empower Your Startup

The constant whirlwind of excitement and activity surrounding the launch of your startup can leave you feeling overwhelmed. You can get so focused on the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities involved with getting your operation up and running that you neglect some of your company’s most vital legal components.

Because you are so busy, and likely not generating much revenue during the startup phase, it’s often tempting to try to handle everything on your own instead of seeking out the support and advice of an experienced business lawyer. This is especially true today when a quick Google search can seemingly get you legal tips and documents in an instant.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Taking the do-it-yourself route can put your fledgling business—and your personal assets—at serious risk. Without the proper legal protections in place, your startup is just one accident, audit, or lawsuit away from ruin. Luckily, with the advice of a trusted business lawyer, you can easily avoid the most common legal pitfalls and position your new company for rapid, sustainable growth.

Every business is different, and you should consult with your business lawyer early and often during the startup phase, but these are four critical areas where a lawyer’s support is invaluable.

1. Entity Formation & Maintenance

Choosing the right business entity structure for your business is one of your first and most crucial decisions when launching a startup. In fact, the entity you choose for your business will affect everything from the amount of taxes you pay and the type of records you are required to keep, to how vulnerable your personal assets are to lawsuits incurred by your company.

Whether you choose a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation, each entity comes with unique advantages and disadvantages, all of which must be carefully considered before you launch. Your business lawyer not only helps you choose the right entity type, but can also help you structure it and plan for it correctly.

2. Creating Legal Agreements

Ultimately, your entire business is one vast series of agreements: agreements with investors and lenders, clients and vendors, employees and contractors, partners and customers. The success of your business depends on your ability to make agreements and seal deals in mutually beneficial ways.

Furthermore, your legal agreements are designed to govern and protect some of your company’s most essential elements: your personal liability, intellectual property, financial investments, and tax strategies, to name just a few.

Are you really going to trust generic, fill-in-the blank forms you find online to govern such crucial components of your business?

Whether you need new agreements created or want to review agreements you already have, it’s imperative you have these agreements looked over by your business lawyer.  A good lawyer will support you to not only create clear concise agreements, but also implement an agreement process that will allow you to more effectively navigate the inevitable changes that take place in every relationship, while dealing with conflict in a way that’s both healthy and productive.

3. Intellectual Property Protection

Whether you realize it or not, your intellectual property (IP) is one of your company’s most valuable assets. In fact, studies show that easily 80% of the value of a typical business is IP; a full 84% of the S&P 500’s market cap, for example, are intangible assets.

Surprisingly, most startups and small businesses aren’t properly protecting these vital intangible assets!

You should generally start by trademarking your company’s name and registering for copyright protection for the copy on your website and in your advertisements. In order to ensure your business owns all of the work you pay others to create, you will also need to make certain that all agreements you have with independent contractors and vendors include work-for-hire provisions, and that all agreements with clients and customers have limitations-on-use provisions.

Your lawyer will not only help you secure the necessary IP protections and create airtight legal agreements, but they can also take the necessary steps to protect your IP to ensure your intellectual property rights aren’t infringed upon. Additionally, your business lawyer can help you leverage and maximize the value of your IP assets, and support you with developing an ongoing strategy to build a winning brand.

4. Securing The Proper Business Insurance

While setting up your business entity can safeguard your personal assets from your company’s liabilities, that entity will not protect your business assets—that’s where business insurance comes in. And seeing that a single catastrophic event or lawsuit can wipe out your company, it’s crucial that you have the proper insurance coverage in place from the moment you open your doors.

The type and amount of coverage your company needs will largely depend on your particular company and its assets. That said, most businesses can benefit from several common forms of insurance, including general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, property insurance, and employment practices insurance. Additionally, you should consider investing in umbrella insurance, which would cover you for any damages in excess of your other individual policies.

Before you sit down with an insurance agent, meet with your business lawyer. They can help you evaluate your business assets and underlying risks to identify the optimal levels of coverage you should have in place to protect your business from all potential risks.

Build A Solid Legal Foundation

Launching a new business is difficult enough without having to worry about costly and potentially ruinous legal problems hanging over your head. Sitting down with an experienced business lawyer is a huge part of starting your business off right.

That’s what Artisan Law is trained to do! Our expertise is in mastering the legal and financial components of your operation, so that when you face those hurdles, you’ll be more than ready.

By working with us to build a solid foundation for your startup, you can gain genuine confidence about your company’s long-term success. And armed with that clarity, you can devote all of your energy and passion into growing your business into something truly meaningful for yourself, your clients, and your family.

Get in touch with us, and let’s talk about how you can lay the groundwork for a successful business.