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    Category Archives: Business

    Why Every New Business Needs a Lawyer & How to Find a Great One

    Chances are if you are an entrepreneur, you have a little “issue” when it comes to controlling everything about your company — in other words, you find it hard to trust others when it comes to your “lawyer-consultation (1)baby.”

    But unless you are an experienced business attorney, you probably don’t have the knowledge — and most certainly the time — to understand the legal implications of just about every decision you will be making about your new business, including its structure, the agreements and contracts that will determine how your company will function and be profitable, and even hiring your first employee.

    While entrepreneurs are usually great problem solvers, a good business lawyer is trained to see potential problems before they can adversely impact your business or put your personal wealth at risk.

    A recent article at Entrepreneur.com provides entrepreneurs these tips for choosing the right lawyer for their business:

    1.  Look for a good fit.  Finding someone to meet all your legal requirements may be much easier than finding a good fit personally, but face it — you want to be in business with this person for the long haul, since his or her good advice can continue to keep you out of trouble and save you some serious cash by avoiding litigation.  Find someone you click with on a personal level and who can relate to what you need.  Most importantly, look for a lawyer who will be proactive

    2.  Do not use a friend.  You need someone with total objectivity, and you want to be able to be completely honest with your attorney, so usually choosing someone who is not already a personal friend is your best bet. If you do use a friend who you really trust, don’t do it for a trade. Pay  your lawyer. And make sure whoever you use really understands your business.

    3.  Ask for referrals.  If you know other attorneys or friends who have used business lawyers, ask them for a referral.  The interview those attorneys before making a commitment by phone or email.  Use our hiring guide to ask the right questions.

    4.  Stay away from DIY websites.  The do-it-yourself legal documents you can get online could get you into more trouble and end up costing you much more in litigation than you would have spent on a real, live, breathing attorney in the first place. If you are using a template document, have it reviewed by your lawyer before it’s finalized.

    5.  Consider size.  Law firms come in all sizes, with pros and cons for each.  Larger firms usually offer a fuller complement of resources, including multiple locations and more specialized practice areas., plus higher prices and less personalized services.  Smaller firms and solos are usually more hands-on and can be more economical.  Decide first what you need and choose the firm that can best deliver to those needs.

    Whether you’re starting or already running a business, the best time to hire a lawyer is before you need one.  Having a business attorney that understands the individual needs and unique circumstances of your company is key to helping your business thrive and prosper.  If you are interested in learning more about legal protection strategies for your business and how we work with you as a partner in protecting your company, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.

    Should You Mix Business with Friendship?

    Have you considered co-founding a new business with a family member or
    friend? If so, you’re in good company –Fox Business reporter Susan Shreter
    reports that about half of today’s startups are co-founded among friends,
    family members or spouses.

    Friends on StepsGoing into
    business with a friend or family member? It certainly makes sense that one
    would want to pursue their most ambitious goals with people they trust. But is
    doing so good or bad for the relationship you have with your co-founder?

    When working
    with friends, expectations of loyalty and understanding are higher than is
    common among everyday work colleagues. And when friends let us down,
    resentments can linger and cause a deep divide in both work relationship and
    personal relationships.

    Here are five
    ways startup misunderstandings can spiral out of control
    and potentially
    end friendships, according to Fox
    Business
    .

    #1: Unmet Expectations. The
    typical startup business will take a lot more time and money to become
    profitable than anyone ever expects.

    #2: Work Style Conflicts. Even
    though friends get along great when hanging out at the bar, this compatibility
    may not resonate in the office
    environment.

    #3: Business Strategy
    Disagreements.
    New startup partners tend to be well aligned to the grander
    goals of an organization, but rarely have worked through the nitty gritty
    details of how to achieve these goals.

    #4: Spending Conflicts. One of
    the most common areas of disagreement is spending authority and budget
    priorities.

    #5: No Way Out. What happens when one
    partner wants to sell out, quit or reduce involvement in the business?

    A recent Forbes article, titled “Co-Founding
    With a Friend – – Without Decimating a Friendship
    ,” shares a few words of
    wisdom from successful businesses founded by friends. One startup says “when
    making decisions, we make the conscious decision to not be disrespectful
    because at the end of the day, we want to stay friends.” Another startup
    recognizes the importance of keeping work and personal lives separate.

    To avoid any
    misunderstandings that could potentially end the business or the friendship, it
    is important to discuss all issues that might interfere with productive
    business building.

    Contact one of the business and estate planning attorneys at Meier Law Firm to discuss your business.

    References: Fox Business
    (June 13, 2011) “Why Co-Founding a Business Can Decimate
    Friendships

    Forbes (December 12, 2012) “Co-Founding With a Friend – Without
    Decimating a Friendship




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