If dogs are a man’s best friend…where does that leave lawyers?
As a lawyer for the past 20+ years, I understand that we might not always be the most popular people that others want to spend time with. As a matter of fact, it’s usually just the opposite!
But as a Legal & Business Growth Coach, I also understand that as a business owner, having a solid legal foundation in place is absolutely imperative for your business’ success.
Because when things go sideways in business (as they eventually always do), you want to have some processes and protections in place to help get you through those turbulent times.
And as I tell my clients, getting your legal house in order isn’t about aggressive “going after people” in an effort to take what isn’t yours. Nor is it an unrelenting quest for litigious legal action.
Instead, getting your legal house in order is simply a safeguard, a series of steps designed to make sure that if something does go wrong with a business partnership, or delivery of services or whatever the case maybe, that you and your family are protected.
In others, so that a problem with your business literally won’t be the end of the world as it relates to your livelihood or your family’s well being.
So with that in mind, I came up with three areas where if you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to consider in order to ensure you’ve got your legal ducks in a row.
Business Entity Formation
Here we’re talking about the basics: Sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), S-Corp, C-Corp or partnership. There are different tax and legal advantages and disadvantages of each, and by sitting down with a legal coach like myself, we can help you choose (or sometimes switch) to the business entity that best fits your situation.
Intellectual Property Protection
This goes out to all of my coaches, consultants, speakers and thought leaders whose ideas are their business!
What we’re talking about here are articles, videos, blog posts, products…anything that is content-centric and is obviously something you created.
One of the first things I do with clients in this area is have them inventory all of their intellectual property (IP) on a sheet of paper. All of the classes, books, special reports…literally write everything down.
Then, once it’s all laid out, we talk about what they’ve done, and/or need to do to legally protect it.
Now I know that sounds like a lot of work, but one of the stories I like to tell during my workshops involves a social media client I had who had developed this great course for improving business results via social media.
So much so that others copied (stole?) his exact process and began selling it online for less. In other words, they were literally copied his work, marked down the price, and sold it as their own.
It was only after a couple of months once he realized what was happening when he found me.
Needless to say I can’t get into all of the details, but take my word for it…it was a mess. And not because it we weren’t successful (we were eventually able to get his product back and had his “competitors” cease and desist), but it took a lot more time, money and effort than if he just had a the proper intellectual property protections in place to begin with.
Believe me, this is not a step you want to ignore.
Creation of Legal Agreements
This is another big one, since every entrepreneur uses contracts and agreements during the normal course of the normal course of their business.
But here’s the thing: If these contracts are not drafted properly and reviewed by a professional, they might not be as legally binding as you think.
For members of our “Getting Your Legal House in Order” training Program, I provide members with templates – including those of legally binding contracts and agreements – so you don’t have reinvent the wheel. So now when you consummate a deal, whether a business agreement or client contract, you have everything you need to quickly and easily create a legally enforceable agreement.
The Bottom Line
I know that as a business owner talking with lawyers and legal coaches might not be very high on your to do list. (Maybe just in front of getting audit?)
I totally get it.
But I also know that if you don’t put some time into getting your legal house in order today, you are putting yourself at a much greater risk when something does go sideways in your business later on. So, check out those three ideas, and if you don’t have them all nailed down yet, no problem.