Are partners or team members in a startup really equals? When you start your business, you are filled with enthusiasm and excitement about the possibilities that the future holds. You’ve even managed to inspire others to follow you on your journey into the abyss. Maybe you disregarded my advice not to involve family and friends. They’re trustworthy after all, right? Unfortunately, as you get into the weeds, things become more complicated. People get angry or disappointed. Some folks might even walk away. Your job as a founder is to mitigate these risks at the outset. In other words, it’s time to get a lawyer.
Now your stomach is in knots. “Lawyers are so expensive”, you say to yourself, “and legal terms are so complicated”. Wherefore..you shall..who cares! Why do I even need this? Can’t I just download some forms off the internet or use agreements from my relative’s business? Absolutely not, unless you want things to get more complicated and expensive down the line.
Not all contracts are equal
Some might call me biased as I am lawyer. But trust me, I am only looking out for your best interests. Not all businesses are created equal. Legal agreements are contingent upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the parties. Do you manufacture widgets or are you a software company? The former might require detailed supplier agreements and greater capital expenditures, while the latter primarily involves the protection of intellectual property. Who can help you determine the difference? Lawyers.
Getting a lawyer = less complication
Perhaps one of your partners is providing capital while you and your team are doing the heavy lifting to get your product or service off the ground. How do you determine the partner’s rights and ownership interest in your business? Lawyers. Maybe you need to raise capital to jumpstart the business and aren’t familiar with the different legal instruments and regulatory compliance required to do so. Who you going to call? Hint: It’s not Ghostbusters. Ah yes, Lawyers.
While legal assistance is expensive and complicated, it can save you from a world of hurt down the road. So, don’t wait!