So you’re an entrepreneur who is planning to open your own restaurant. You have years of professional experience as a chef at several upscale restaurants, and the talent, skills, and drive to succeed in the highly competitive restaurant business. However, you have never owned a business before. What is your biggest hurdle? Getting up to speed on the numerous tasks involved in starting and running a new business.
Many entrepreneurs starting their first business find themselves in similar situations. Creating a new business from the ground up is as overwhelming as it is rewarding. One of your first tasks as an entrepreneur is finding the right attorney to handle the assortment of legal matters that come into play when running a business. These include entity formation, licenses, leases, employment contracts, and potential litigation. In addition to handling legal matters, a good business attorney also acts as a business consultant and a hub of valuable business contacts.
Here are eight things a good business attorney can do for your startup:
A business attorney can review your business plan, give you an objective assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, and help you create an action plan to turn your business vision into a concrete reality. Drawing on your extensive network of professional contacts, the lawyer can introduce you to the people you need to connect with to get your up business up and running.
A business attorney advises you on which entity type (sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.) is most appropriate for your enterprise. The lawyer explains the benefits and disadvantages of each entity type as they pertain to your particular business. The attorney helps you file the required paperwork.
The business attorney advises you on how to run your enterprise in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The lawyer knows exactly which licenses are required and how to apply for them.
The business attorney introduces you to a realtor from within his professional network, and the realtor helps you find the most suitable location for your enterprise. The lawyer negotiates with the landlord and his attorneys, making sure the terms of the lease are fair.
The business attorney explains to you the difference between employees and independent contractors, and he advises you on determining the appropriate status for each position he intends to fill. The lawyer advises you on your rights and responsibilities as an employer. He drafts offer letters, contractor agreements, employment contracts, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, and employee handbooks. When drafting HR paperwork, the attorney protects your business interests while taking into account all applicable labor laws. The attorney gives you advice on how to structure incentive programs to maximize your workers’ performance.
Cash flow is often a challenge for startup businesses. A business attorney can help you develop a cash flow worksheet that you can use to plan your monthly income and expenses. The lawyer can also leverage his professional network to introduce you to a financial consultant who can help you develop realistic financial projections and produce financial reports.
Say you aspire to expand your enterprise to operate in multiple locations in the US. Your attorney can help you achieve that goal by introducing you to a business consultant from within your professional network. Collaborating with the consultant, the lawyer helps you develop a plan to scale up your business and put that plan into action.
While no entrepreneur wants to think of his business as a potential target for a lawsuit, every business owner should be prepared for the possibility of litigation. It could come from a competitor who is envious of your success, or a disgruntled former employee who feels he was wrongfully terminated. Your business attorney gives you advice on the proactive steps you can take to mitigate the risk of litigation. In the event that your business faces a lawsuit, having a trusted attorney you can rely on to defend you is vital to your enterprise’s survival.
Consulting with the right business attorney is an important part of launching a new business. A good business attorney advises you on legal and business matters and introduces you to useful business contacts. A lawyer who has experience working with small businesses and startups is in the best position to guide you as you build a new business from the ground up.