Lawyers have earned themselves a bit of an unfair reputation. As a business owner, you may be reluctant to hire one because you might be afraid that they will hamper your decision-making abilities or cost too much to retain. However, if you want to run a successful company, you need to get yourself a lawyer.
It is said that there are two main professionals you need when you first start your business: an accountant and a lawyer. Having an accountant is pretty obvious: you need someone to help you keep track of your money. A lawyer is just as important, but you may not be able to see the benefits from the start. Below are the reasons why it’s important to find the right lawyer for your business.
1. Business Registration, Licensing and Permits
No matter what type of business you are having, you are probably going to have to register with the state you live in. If you work in specific industries, to be in compliance with the law, you may need to obtain certain permits and licenses. Having a lawyer can help you navigate the requirements and ensure that you are getting the right information and stay in compliance with the law.
In addition, when you are setting up your business, you’ll need to decide if you are going to be a limited liability corporation (LLC), a sole proprietorship, corporation or partnership. Each business type is governed by different laws and regulations. If you want to be in compliance, then having a lawyer help with the process will work in your favor.
Having contracts is the best way to protect your business from unnecessary or fraudulent lawsuits. There will be many contracts you have to sign when setting up your business, including contracts to buy or lease your business space; contracts to work with vendors for supplies; and contracts with investors, partners and employees.
If you have a business lawyer, not only will you be able to draft contracts that protect you and the various entities who will be signing, but you’ll also know if the contracts you have to sign are beneficial. Laws can change, and if you aren’t keeping up, you could find yourself in a precarious situation. If you have a business lawyer, you will have someone who can create and review contracts to ensure they are in your best interest.
3. Collecting Debts
As a business, you will more than likely be working with other companies. This could be in the form of vendor agreements or because of the nature of your products or services. If you find that one of your business clients hasn’t been paying their bills, you need to know about your legal options when you’re owed payment. The best way to get that information is to have a lawyer that works for your company. They’ll be able to inform you of your rights and responsibilities and can even take the other company to court if the situation calls for it.
4. Expanding Your Business
Whether you are expanding the size of your business, acquiring another business or moving into another state, you need to make sure the process conforms to current laws. If you have a business lawyer, they will keep you in compliance and ensure that your business doesn’t do anything illegal.
This is especially beneficial if you are expanding into a new state, which may have different rules and regulations. Since you probably don’t have the time to figure out exactly what the laws are for your business in the new state (you have a business to run), your business lawyer will take on this task and make sure you are doing what needs to be done so that you can sell your products, make customers happy and make a profit.
5. Keeping Track of Your Money
As a business, you need to earn money. Without capital, you can’t stay afloat. You may think that your account is the best person to turn to when it comes to this aspect of your company, but a lawyer can also be beneficial. Your accountant should know the current rules and regulations as it pertains to record-keeping, creating reports and taxation. They should also help you be fiscally responsible.
However, a lawyer can also give you guidance on the rules for the type of business you decide to create. Whether you are an LLC, a corporation, partnership, etc., a business lawyer can let you know the best financial practices for each and every type and ensure that you are conforming to the best financial practices—even when the laws change.
6. Knowing What You Are Liable For
Probably the most important reason you should have a business lawyer is so that you know what you are liable for. Again, depending on the type of company you set up, your obligations to employees, customers, investors, and partners, among others, will vary. Don’t lose your entire business because you decided to figure this out on your own.
If you find yourself scrambling to find a lawyer because of a pending lawsuit, then it might be too late. Having a lawyer in place before this happened may have prevented the issue from arising at all. Your business lawyer will inform you of your risks and responsibilities so that you can make informed decisions about your company and ensure that it’s protected from the moment you open your doors.
Finding the Right Lawyer
It can be daunting and frustrating looking for the right lawyer for your business. If you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t need one or that they are too expensive, this could end up costing you in the long run.
When looking for the right lawyer for your business, it’s important to find someone you are comfortable working with. You should enjoy sitting down and talking to them, and they should be invested in making your business a success. It may require doing some interviews and talking to several lawyers to find a good match, but it’s worth the investment—as is a good lawyer for your business.