Legal “Aid”: Tackling Your Business Goals in 2020
If you are like us, you are using the start of the year to establish business goals for the coming year. Legal considerations should be part of your planning process even (and especially) if you are not a lawyer. A first step in approaching your legal planning is to ask yourself: How can a lawyer proactively help me accomplish my business goals in 2020?
Good legal management is not just about protecting your business and mitigating risk. It is also about setting up your business to maximize your chances for success. Depending on your business circumstances and industry, here are some objectives you may be positioning for in 2020 and how a lawyer can help you reach them:
- Raising Capital. If you are planning on raising capital, getting your legal house in order in advance can make the capital raising process go quicker and smoother. Possibly, it could also make the difference between a successful capital raise or not. Depending on your situation, this could include analyzing corporate, tax, employment, succession and intellectual property (IP) issues. Agreements and documentation concerning all of these matters should be reviewed by an attorney as they are harder to revise once you have brought in outside investors and investors will want to see that you have adequately protected your IP and other key assets (including employees).
- New Products. If you are planning on launching significant new product(s), do you have adequate IP protections in place? Have you considered whether you may be unintentionally infringing on the IP rights of third parties? If you are out-sourcing production, have you thought about the contractual protections you will need? Do you have any contractual obligations that would limit your ability to expand? These are the types of legal issues you should be considering in your product development process.
- Expansion. If you are looking to take your business to the next level, whether that includes opening new locations or hiring significant numbers of employees, the legal issues involved can be complicated. Do you have or need new employment agreements and/or employment manuals? If you do have them, when was the last time you updated these documents? These issues can often be easily addressable if planned for in advance but costly to remedy if addressed in an ad hoc or reactionary manner.
- Acquisitions/Sale of the Company/Joint Ventures. If you are planning to delve into the world of mergers and acquisitions, these transactions can be the most transformative and impactful actions you and your business will ever undertake. The issues are always complicated and multi-faceted. While there’s not the space to get into these issues here, it is important to recognize that advance planning is essential – particularly issues involving taxes and governance.
- Bringing in New Partners and/or Key Employees. If you are looking to bring in new partners or hire senior employees, do you need to create a new partnership agreement or employment agreement? Do you have existing documents that need to be modified? Have you thought how this may affect the arrangements of other partners and/or key employees? Do you have a process in place to do appropriate background checks? All of these documents will be key to scaling your team in a responsible and secure way.
We’re all looking for prosperity in the new year and our team is here to help you think about and plan for whatever the next phase is for your business.