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Legal tips for Small Business Start-ups

Make sure your business measures up legally…

Business is running at the speed of light due to technological advances, readily available capital, and an endless supply of business ideas.   From the very beginning, your business strategy should satisfy all the necessary legal requirements for your industry.  Giving it your time, attention and investment it deserves.

Here are four tips for formulating your organization’s legal strategy:

1. Budget more for legal expenses than you think you may need

Don’t underestimate your legal expenses. Legal fees could end up being a large upfront investment when you start your business. Give yourself a cushion in your budget for these services.

Don’t forget the cost of license fees, filing fees, bonds and more. These too can add up in the scheme of things.

2. Assume you need twice as much time to accomplish what has to be done legally

The idea for your business is the starting point and sure you want to get going right away. Spend sufficient time to make sure your “I’s” are dotted and your “T’s” crossed.  Plan Ahead…

3. Make sure you have the right attorney for the job 

An attorney not versed in a specific area of law can be costly. If you need to obtain a patent, work with a patent attorney. The specialist’s years of experience in intellectual property and in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of patent and trademark litigation will serve you well. Choosing a general practice lawyer who covers a broad range of areas but specializes in none may save you money upfront, but this individual’s lack of expertise in a specific field could cost you down the road.

4. Make sure you are covered and not breaking the law. 

The consequences of not having your legal house in order can be expensive. Making sure all the proper licenses, permits and agreements are in place can save time and costly fines later.   Work with a trusted legal advisor early on to ensure you’re operating within the letter of the law.

Business moves fast. Following these basic steps can go a long way in building your business as quickly — and wisely — as possible. Remember though, just because something may be legal doesn’t always mean it’s right.  You may be following the letter of the law but a business should also be built on values and solid ethics.

By Anne Capps Executive Vice President – American Receivable

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