Let’s face it. Trying to determine which legal task to work on when it comes to laying a solid legal foundation for your business can get a little overwhelming. However, you definitely should not let that keep you from taking action to protect the empire you are building. As an entrepreneur that just so happens to be a lawyer, everything I do comes down to an analysis of 3 things: (1) my business vision and goals, (2) the activities that need to happen in my business to make it run smoothly, and (3) the risk involved in engaging in these activities. Some of the top items I recommend my clients focus on when laying a legal foundation for their business ventures include:
- Forming an LLC or Corporation
- Drafting Website Legal Terms
- Drafting Contracts when working with others
- Filing for a Fictitious Name/DBA
- Filing for a Trademark
Depending on your level of comfort, some of these things you can handle on your own, while many are best handled by an expert. I personally am an advocate of building a tribe of business resources and partners I can collaborate with to get help in the areas of my business where I am not an expert. It has saved me time and tons of headaches.
Now sure that’s easier said than done but the next challenge that comes with getting expert help is usually – you guessed it – money. So….
How do you know what is the most important legal task you need to do right now if you’re on a budget?
Most of the time it is clear to you that some action needs to be taken, but it’s not always clear exactly what is most important task to tackle especially when building a business on budget.
I can frame this a little better for you with a few examples:
Example 2: Perhaps you are a freelancer and your vision is to provide your services to and work with multiple organizations. In this case, it would be critical to have a freelancer contract in place. Website legal terms may be lower on your priority list if you don’t have a website just yet.
Example 3: You may even be a lifestyle blogger or influencer and part of your vision is to secure brand sponsorships. In this case, it would be really important to ensure you have a sponsor agreement that you can use and properly drafted website terms and disclaimers. You could likely hold off on something like filing a trademark.
In short, your business’ legal needs will depend on and be relative to the type of activities you are engaging in and the risk involved. Understanding the order things should be handled will help you prioritize your legal budget and set aside money to address those tasks each month. It is important to understand that protecting your business is an ongoing process that you will do for the life of your business. If you’re not sure where you should start, consider consulting with a lawyer who can better evaluate your business, goals and risk to help set you on the right path.