LEGAL PROTECTION FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Having a business lawyer is necessary to ensure the success of any business endeavor. Whatever the size, location or purpose of the business, it is critical that legal fundamentals and relationships are taken cared of from the very start to every stage. Your business lawyer understands how your business operates and could thus provide you the necessary legal tools to protect you and enable you to succeed and properly address legal issues as they come along.
Most start-ups tend to under estimate their need for a business lawyer at the early stage of their operation when they are actually most vulnerable and in dire need of legal protection. Instead, many start-ups think they can save on time and money if they just proceed by themselves in securing registration, procuring licenses and entering into agreements without legal support and not fully understanding the legal consequences of their actions. They do not realize the extent of legal research and evaluation required that is essential in every important business decision they make and the complex legal issues they need to face as their businesses grow and only seek assistance when legal issues and problems arise.
The Development Stage of the business is the most crucial. It is the beginning of the business lifecycle which is incidentally the beginning of the legal lifecycle of any business as well. This is the stage where creative ideas for products and services are developed and tested and the period where you decide if your business is worth pursuing. This is the period where intellectual property protection is most needed: new inventions need to be patented, freedom to operate (FTOs) needed to be secured, logos needed to be developed and trademarked. It is also the stage where the business capital is secured either thru bank loans or thru investors so it is necessary that the promissory notes, mortgage agreements and investor agreements are carefully drafted.
Once you have decided that your business idea is worth pursuing and you have secured the capital necessary to pursue it, the Start-Up Stage comes next. It is at this stage when you decide what business organization structure is appropriate for you: sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation. It is at this stage where important documents are drafted before operating your business, such as incorporation documents, shareholders agreements, lease agreements, purchase agreements, non-disclosure agreements, IP assignment agreement, employment agreements, supplier/service agreements and customer agreements to name a few. It is also the stage where permits and licenses are secured. At this stage, having a business lawyer is important to ensure that you are completely registered and that you have adequate protection from your contracts.
Once your business progresses and start growing and maturing, more complex legal issues need to be addressed. As you expand your business to new markets and territories and pursue bigger revenues, more challenges come up and a business lawyer’s role becomes more frequent and important. Your contracts need to be revisited as your requirements change. You may need to hire more, transfer locations, acquire plants and property, change suppliers, negotiate more complex agreements, enter into licensing agreements, deal with infringement issues, labor issues, and tax issues among others – all these needing the expert advice of your business lawyer.
Some businesses reach a stage where they need to acquire another business or company or enter into mergers or get bought by another company. Others, for some unfortunate reason, close down and liquidate. In all these scenarios, your business lawyer can draw up the necessary agreements, prepare the documentations and guide you with your rights and obligations.