When I'm Starting a Business, When Should I get Legal Advice?
Many small businesses are hesitant to request help, even when it is desperately required, at first. It's possible that they don't realize what they don't know and believe they can handle the situation on their own, but more often than not, founders are afraid of the cost of getting assistance and help, especially when it comes to legal matters.
The truth is that anyone beginning a business can't afford to skip out on legal advice on a number of critical concerns, and it's a lesson that far too many companies discover too late. We've outlined some critical concerns that require legal assistance, as well as how your company may pay it even on a tight budget.
Making a Business Name Registration
The choice and formalization of a business name is one of the first things any founder takes. However, establishing a URL, printing some materials, and even designing a sign or emblem are all part of the procedure. You'll need to go through one of several different stages to register your business name with various levels of government in order for it to be given legal recognition and protection:
Your business name may be automatically registered with the state if you create articles of incorporation or organization for your company.
You'll need to register for a "doing business as" (dba) name with the state if you already have a name for your business entity but wish to operate under a different name.
If you do business in many states and want to protect your business name on a federal level, you can register your business name as a federal trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office. This gives you the ability to pursue legal action if necessary (USPTO).
All of the foregoing implies that you should first check to see if the name you want is available, which includes conducting a search. A lawyer can assist you with the name search as well as the registration process, both locally and federally.
Organizing a Company
To safeguard their personal financial assets from future corporate debts and responsibilities, most prudent business owners swiftly form an entity. While it may appear that incorporating and registering your business entity is something you can do on your own, the options and possible complexity may necessitate the assistance of a legal professional.
To organize a business entity, you must first select from a variety of options, including LLCs, partnerships, LLPs, and C or S company formation. All of them differ in significant ways, with one type likely to be the best fit for your company and its objectives.
You run the danger of making the wrong decision if you don't have much expertise or experience, and even if you do locate the perfect corporation, there's documentation to fill out correctly, should a mistake cause problems down the road. That's not even taking into account the entities' articles of incorporation or organization.
You'll want to get these early-stage chores right the first time, which means working with a lawyer from the start.
Operating a business requires dealing with contracts both internally and for external work, which should come as no surprise to any founder. Many business owners, on the other hand, are not adequately prepared with fundamental internal contracts to launch and grow their company.
You want all contracts to safeguard you and your interests, as well as to include all relevant data and conditions. You can't rely on downloaded online templates to keep you or your organization completely covered, whether it's for partnership agreements, employment or contractor agreements, or conventional sales contracts.
You may not be considering any specific complexities that may apply to your organization or industry, in addition to maybe sourcing templates that aren't for the suitable region or issues. Similarly, the companies with which you work for office space, equipment, materials, and everything else necessary to run your business will require you to sign contracts, and you would be doing your business a disservice if you did not comprehend those terms.
The easiest approach to avoid problems with signed agreements is to have a lawyer review them before you sign them and create tailored contracts for your firm.
Property of the Mind
The company's underlying intellectual property is an often-overlooked part of a small corporation (IP). Your company is founded on the foundations of an idea or concepts, which accounts for the majority of the company's value.
Your company's intellectual property is comprised of your concept or innovation, as well as know-how and method, as well as acumen, client lists, and branding, and it must be safeguarded in the same way that your physical assets are.
Copyright, trademark, and patent protections, as well as processes around your trade secrets, can help protect your IP depending on what it is. It's crucial to understand the distinctions between these four forms of intellectual property, as well as to ensure that you're acquiring the right protection for each.
It's not enough to lock your innovations away in a safe (though that would be a good precaution); you also need to register your patents or trademarks with the USPTO in order to properly protect them and take legal action against anyone who could infringe on your intellectual property. It is not necessary to register a copyright with the USPTO if the work is expressed in a fixed media, but it is required if you want to pursue someone who is copying that IP.
If you want to protect your intellectual property, you should consult an attorney to decide what needs to be protected and what steps you should take next.
It Doesn't Have to Be Difficult or Expensive to Get Legal Assistance
Some businesses may try to avoid or minimize the legal aspects of any of the above difficulties in the hopes of getting by without legal help. While it's fair that some businesses would prefer not to spend money they don't have, there is a method to receive legal assistance for a reasonable fee.
Contact Haletek Industries to get started. Small Business Legal Plans from LegalShield provides guidance, consultation, and document review from certified law firms in your state, and you may usually speak with a lawyer the same day you sign up. Sign up for Launch by LegalShield today to start forming your business.