Why Do I Need a Lawyer To Start a Business – I Have The Internet?

September 13, 2017

Starting a business can be an exciting and overwhelming endeavor and Google seems reasonably equipped to answer all your questions – right? Maybe, but as you embark on your new venture, Google may not adequately solve your concerns in a way that protects you. Consider the following reasons to work with a knowledgeable business lawyer, rather than your favorite search engine:

  • First things first – the right structure is key. One of the most basic tasks in forming a new business is to choose an entity structure. This decision is critical as different entities expose you to much different levels of liability. Choosing the wrong entity could leave your business (and you individually) exposed to intolerable levels of liability against lawsuits. Conversely you may inadvertently overly complicate your structure when you are in an industry with very little need to worry about liability.
  • Business attorneys should work hand in hand with your accountant. Structure and other set up decisions are best made both between your attorney and your accountant. Do not be surprised with an improper structure for both you or your industry once tax season arrives. Set it up correctly from the start.
  • Protect your ideas and property. Protect your product ideas, production secrets, customer information, potential competition from your employees and anything else unique to your business. Doing so allows you to maintain a competitive advantage and shield yourself from others both externally and internally who could use your unique information for their own profit.
  • Employment lawsuits can stop a business in its tracks. Starting a business means you must comply with all federal and state employment laws, including legal procedures regarding employee pay, hours, overtime, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Failing to consult with a business attorney exposes your business to a variety of employment lawsuits and even one lawsuit can be the death of a small business. Do not take simple tasks like drafting job descriptions or interviewing procedures for granted. Consult with a business attorney and do it right.
  • Running a Business Can be a full-time job. Creating a new business involves a lot of paperwork and legal formalities confusing to even the savviest entrepreneurs. Drafting bylaws or operating agreements, complying with tax requirements and licensing concerns are most effectively handled with the assistance of a business lawyer.

Handing off the set up and operational structure issues to the right business lawyer allows you to get back into the business of running your business.  Bergmann Law can walk you through the process of starting a business and set you on a path ensuring smooth operations and dispute avoidance.  With years of dedicated legal experience, your business will be in excellent hands. Call our office and schedule an initial consultation.

My Business Partner and I Are Both Successful and Friends – Why Ruin it With an Agreement?

If you are starting a business with your friend surely a written agreement defining your business relationship is unnecessary. After all he has watched your children, stood next to you at your wedding, sat up late with you through college finals, so what could possibly go wrong?

Not so fast.

Even though a partnership agreement, if that is the legal entity you decide to form, is not necessary to start a business, it is good advice to write down the parameters of your business relationship, even if that partner is your best friend.

Partnership agreements deal with numerous decisions upfront and help you and your new partner both think about and deal head on with the issues of a business relationship that may not have occurred to either of you as friends. You can decide, in writing, how all allocation of profits and losses will occur, how the partnership will make decisions, divide up management duties, discuss the possibility of admitting new partners in the future and lay out terms to wind up business if things do not go so well.

By deciding these issues before-hand, both members of a new venture will be fully aware of exactly what to expect, and how to handle the wide variety of issues that come at you every day in a new business. Having these decisions in writing also avoids the possibility of future disputes.

Agreements do not have to be complex, or expensive to craft.  It can be simple and clearly worded and include as much or as the little as you and your business partner want to address.  It is, of course, malleable and should be revised as both your circumstances and business opportunities change.

But partnership agreements and other business agreements not only preempt the possibility of litigation when disputes arise among business owners. In the sad event your partner dies, a pre-determined buyout or succession plan ensures the business will continue after your partner is gone. Not having to deal with these big decisions because you addressed them in advance will not only keep your doors open, but perhaps make dealing with the loss of your friend a bit easier.

So just because you trust your new partner- and trust them you must – and have a long and affectionate past with him doesn’t mean that a business agreement between you is frivolous. Quite to the contrary – it should be part of your business plan as you begin any new venture – rather than a negative or unpleasant conversation. In fact a written agreement between friends, now business partners, could end up saving not only your friendship, but keep the business alive for future generations!

Bergmann & Good is well positioned to both counsel you on the necessary terms for the form of entity best suited for you.  Call us if you would like to learn more.  It’s much less expensive to be structured correctly as you start your venture than calling because your former friend and partner has sued you and suddenly you need a lawyer.