3 Steps to Getting Your Legal House in Order.
As a Legal & Business Growth Coach by trade, one of the things I tell all of my clients is they have to get their legal house in order before they can achieve any meaning growth in their business.
Because trouble has a way of finding people – especially after businesses have started making some money and are showing signs success. Meaning if you don’t have that stuff nailed down early on…well, in my experience, you’re just asking to get sued.
So with that said, what are some things you can do to start getting your legal house in order?
I’m glad you asked.
Step #1: Update/Set Up Your Business Entity.
Meaning make sure you have a business LLC, partnership, S-Corp or even C-Corp entity in place. Not only will this help you from a tax perspective, but it will also provide the necessary shield between your personal and professional assets should anything untoward happen during the course of normal business affairs.
If you don’t have something in place, then stop everything you’re doing right now, and email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll schedule a complimentary 30 minute session with myself or someone in my office, and we’ll discuss your options.
(Seriously…it’s that important.)
Step #2: Start Documenting Your Business Transactions.
If you’ve seen me speak or read some of my earlier blogs, you know that I’m all about documentation. And nowhere is that more important than when you’re getting your legal house in order.
Now when I say “document your business transactions,” here’s what we’re talking about:
- Client agreements,
- Partnership arrangements,
- Vendor agreements.
Obviously there’s other stuff, but if you do those on a consistent basis, then you should be in good shape.
For our Access Member Clients, I have some templates that people can use that allows them to literally “plug and play” their information into various client, vendor and partner agreements, so they don’t have to spend a bunch of time reinventing the wheel.
Now sometimes people ask me if all of that documentation is really necessarily. “Besides,” they say. “I’m doing business with friends. Do I really need to document stuff with them?”
Short answer: Absolutely.
And not because you’re looking for a lawsuit or the opportunity to take them to court over the slightest thing, but rather so you can have a document that captures both of your understandings of the arrangement.
As a Lawyer for 20+ years, that’s one of the things that trips a lot of people up.
They think contracts are some type of preemptive attack on the other person, when actually, in a lot of cases they are the exact opposite.
So yes, make sure you have contracts with your clients going forward, and make it a habit to document all of your agreements and arrangements with vendors, suppliers and anyone who you do business with as well.
Sometimes even a simple email will do the trick, but just make sure it’s enforceable.
Step #3: Start Trademarking Your Brand/Content.
This might apply more to certain industries/readers than others, but it’s definitely an important step towards getting your legal house in order.
The purpose of a trademark, as most of you know, is to differentiate a company’s goods or services in the marketplace.
A trademark also represents an intangible asset in the form of consumer goodwill that has been assigned to the company through its history.
Now the reason this is so important is because sometimes – again depending on your business – people see your content or course or whatever, and decide, “That looks good. And as a matter of fact, it looks so good, I think I’m going to publish it on my blog…and take the credit!”
But in the wild west that can sometimes be the internet, you’d be surprised how often that happens.
However, when you have the proper trademarks and notifications in place, you’d be equally surprised how quickly a situation like that can be resolved!
So if you’re a coach, consultant, author, speaker or in any other industry where your ideas and content is your business, please do yourself a favor and start trademarking the following:
- Content on your website/blog,
- Courses or programs you’ve created,
- Podcast episodes,
- YouTube videos.
You get the idea.
Anything that is your content and is published for others to see and/or buy.
So there you have it, three steps towards getting your legal house in order.
But don’t worry, if you’re not sure where to start or feeling a little overwhelmed, then just email email@example.com to schedule your complimentary 30 minute session with myself or someone from my office, and we can help put together a game plan that works for you.