Avoid Cutting Important Corners
Many bootstrapping and aspiring entrepreneurs want to save money on legal costs. It’s no wonder when legal fees can potentially eat up thousands and thousands of precious startup dollars. There are many great sites to help you incorporate online, like CorpNet.com or get basic legal documents such as an NDA, like Nolo. These can potentially save you a lot of money for basic, run of the mill legal services. However, there are times when spending money for a bona fide business attorney makes sense. The following 3 items are the situations when you’ll need to seek legal advice from a business attorney:
- Investors: Getting investment from Angel Investors (high net worth individuals) or VCs (venture capitalists). If you’re like most aspiring entrepreneurs, you’ll be seeking capital. If you’re going beyond friends and family, having expert advice to guide you on the equity structure, terms of the deal, repayment terms will be critical. You can guarantee that any big time investor will have solid legal guidance on their side so you’ll need a legal resource to back you up as well.
- Partnership agreement: If you’re going to have a business partner or two or three, then having a partnership agreement in writing is the way to go. Having an attorney draft this agreement for you can help identify contingencies in case a partner leaves or there are irreconcilable differences. This agreement can guide how all partners conduct themselves in the business. I don’t care if you’re best friends, you need a solid agreement in place because situations change and you all need to make sure that you’re in alignment. I’ve been friends with all of my business partners before during and after our business deals— and we’ve had agreements in place from the outset, which helped us navigate the murky waters and tricky situations that did come up.
- Terms and Conditions for your product, service and website: Ok, this sounds boring but it’s important. We’re talking about the terms which you’ll be offering your product or service, whether online or offline. Having a T&C is a must and properly drafting it is way beyond the average person’s capability. A business attorney can work through the legal jargon. Check out our T&Cs.
So, if you need a business attorney, you can always check out your state bar association, or use one of my favorite and easy to use directories called Fizzlaw, where you essentially can crowdsource hungry attorneys who will compete to solve your legal needs.